I’m an old man, so my ideas and opinions may not count for much, but I still generate them.
Many folks, at lease those who have a voice on the Internet, are talking about going to Mars. Just who do they think is going to make the trip? Me? You? I don’t think so. Only a chosen few will be considered and only a chosen few of those considered will actually climb aboard and blast off. How many climb out and walk around after they arrive? Who knows?
The argument is obvious, we’ve made a gigantic dent in our planet’s resources, or most of those we consider useful. However, if we opted to invest part of our star-gazing dollars into saving what we have – Earth – it seems to me it would be money better spent. It’s sort of like the hypothetical automobile. The note is finally satisfied. Now should we set aside $50 or $100 per month to keep the old one in good shape, or should we “give” it to the car dealer and rewrite that $400+ per month note? You be the judge.
Back in the 1960s I was a communications/navigation maintainer on B-52G bombers. They were 1957 and 1958 year models. It took money and lots of effort to keep these hummers ready for whatever tomorrow might bring. Today, the 1960 B-52H models are being crewed by the grandchildren of those who crewed the 1955 B-52B models. Keeping these birds in the air and ready for tomorrow’s threats was not an accident. It required roll-up-you-sleeves maintenance.
Instead of the billions of us who will watch those hand-picked few blast off in search of another world, we need to roll up our sleeves and bite the bullet.
Today Google News reported that humans traveling toward Mars would not survive the trip, something about guts. I’m not sure anyone has any rock-hard evidence of that occurring. The late Wayne Greene, the generator of many ideas and publisher of 73 Magazine had stark opinions about space travel. If my memory has not failed me, he maintained that surviving a trip through Earth’s Van Allen Belts would require shielding of concrete nine feet thick. Was he correct? My limited math skills prevent me from evaluating his POV.
Considering our present weather patterns, melting polar caps, rising water levels, environmental pollution, maybe we should set the money and effort designing and launching Mars rockets aside and give some serious investment in what we have and surviving whatever tomorrow has in store for us.