An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal recently by Robert Zubrin titled “How We Can Fly to Mars in This Decade–And on the Cheap” caught my attention the other day. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Robert Zubrin that this is his opinion. I wrote about Zubrin and the “Mars Underground” film almost exactly four years ago, and he is well known as being an Apostle of the Gospel of Manned Mars Exploration. And a search on my blog for “Mars” shows that I’ve frequently been interested in the topic (though there are a lot of unrelated links in that search), and some of my earliest posts were a four part series concerning “Life on Mars.”
Zubrin claims that we can actually get to Mars within the decade and that we can do so at half the cost of one Space Shuttle launch. The only drawback seems to be that it would take some astronauts willing to go on a risky mission — akin, perhaps, to the earliest days of the space program. (Think The Right Stuff.) He goes on further to argue that doing it this way — as opposed to the current “plan” — is a more moral choice than the current path and that we should go to Mars in this way. Given how many more things that money could be spent on: allowing test pilots to risk it all advancing our space program and potentially saving the lives of many right here on earth by diverting otherwise wasted funds to more profitable uses, he argues that our current approach to space exploration borders on immoral. (As any passionate apostle would (I’m thinking 1 Cor. 9:19-22), he may see our nation’s current budgetary wars as an opportunity to argue his case from an effective angle.)
And I must admit that, if our government’s going to spend
its our money, anyway, I’d love to see a manned Mars program. Given what’s fated for the pride of our power, I don’t truly see American boots on extraterrestrial soil ever again. (Interplanetary and extrasolar adventuring after Christ’s return is a whole ‘nuther discussion.)
What are your thoughts? Feel free and leave them below.