Thursday, March 11, 2021

Mars

By ESA & MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 igo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56489423


Almost fifty years after the Apollo program last visited the moon, we are finally on the cusp of going to the surface of another world: Mars. It isn't clear if the trip will be made on a NASA vehicle called the SLS or if they will simply hire out transportation from SpaceX on their gargantuan Starship vehicle that is currently in development. It looks like Starship has a huge lead right now, and will be reusable, giving it a cost advantage.

Mars, upon cursory review, seems the most like earth of all the planets, but now that we have explored the surface with a variety of probes and rovers, I'm less enthusiastic.

It seems possible to setup habitats for humans to live in, but I don't think I'd be interested in it. Mars has been revealed as a frozen desert. The people in charge of exploration seem to still hope for current microscopic life, or at least evidence of past life, but it isn't like you could go there and pick martian bananas and papayas and put your hammock under the palm trees by the ocean. It's a forbidding place. I'm not interested in going there.

My interests in space exploration have moved on to other places. I once believed the solar system would be colonized by humans in my lifetime. Now I do not expect to live long enough to see any significant human habitation on other worlds. I won't be able to take a cruise to Mars or the outer planets, and I am okay with that.

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