The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin and Richard Wagner

This article was inspired by Robert Zubrin's and Richard Wagner's The Case for Mars . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How Missions to Mars will benefit you

“The time has come for America to set itself a bold new goal in space.”

Since the Apollo moon landings, the US hasn’t established a clear goal for the public to rally behind. Mars may be just the answer to a purposeless space program.

Though the Red Planet has average temperatures below freezing, there are also “dry riverbeds” on its surface, so pioneers to Mars will most likely be able to collect water from underground. This planet has gases (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen) needed for growing crops and creating rocket fuel.

Adjusting to life on Mars may not be as difficult as you might suspect. The length of a Martian day is almost the same as our own, and there are seasons on this planet because of its 24° axial tilt. Iron provides the planet’s red tint, and silicon can also be found there.

With today’s technology, the first manned mission to colonize Mars would cost about $30 billion, with each subsequent voyage costing about $3 billion. This is relatively cheap for a space endeavor. According to current trends, a trip to Mars could happen by 2022. From here to Mars is only a six month trip, which is the same amount of time it took colonists to reach Australia.

There are six issues that have dissuaded space explorers for this long:

  1. “Radiation” – While it is true that members of the Mars Direct mission will be exposed to radiation in space, the chances of developing life threatening cancer will increase by only 1% for these astronauts.
  2. “Zero gravity” – Spending extended periods of time in zero gravity leads to demineralized bones and atrophying muscles, but exercise can help astronauts prevent these problems and treat them.
  3. “Human factors” – Though people have long feared that such voyages would cause astronauts to go stir crazy, history has demonstrated that the human mind can take much more stress than we realize.
  4. “Back contamination” – One concern a mission to Mars raises is the possibility of bringing pathogens from the Red Planet back home; however, life has not been discovered on Mars. Meteorites from Mars have already landed on Earth, so we would have already been exposed to space germs.
  5. “Dust” – Thought dust storms on Mars are very powerful, the planet’s thin atmosphere would keep the weather from harming colonists and their equipment.
  6. Lunar appeal – While some space explorers say the moon would be a good place to practice before colonizing Mars, the Red Planet offers more resources and an environment entirely different from the moon.

How will trips to Mars benefit you? Not only will a revitalized space program generate more jobs, but it will also give Americans a mission to rally behind. Imagine all the raw materials on the Red Planet, which could generate expansion in industry. As humanity colonizes Mars, an entire industry will revolve around terraforming – preparing the world for human life. Just imagine the future of real estate!

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