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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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Mark Sturgess

Obama wants to send a man to Mars.

Now I am not interested in going but I am all for sending him to Mars.

California Yankee

Jim and Matt, As I have posted before, perhaps the best reason to go to Mars is to fulfill the basic human psychological need to explore. To paraphrase George Leigh Mallory, we should go to Mars because it is there and we can.

Humans have historically been nomadic and driven to explore new territory, from hunter gatherers to the settlers of the New World. Exploration inspires us, providing adventure. fresh ideas and new territory.

Mars can fulfill this need. If you doubt that it can you need only consider the excitement generated by Spirit and Opportunity NASA’s robotic Martian rovers. The reaction to the successful landing of the Spirit rover on Mars demonstrates the public’s fascination with Mars.

USA Today referred to Spirit as, "The hottest action hero of 2004."

Spirit's every move lead nightly newscasts, even before it started roving.

NASA's web site received 1.45 billion hits in the five days following Spirit's landing.

With Spirit's landing on Mars, space appeal overcame sex appeal on the Web. In Google's ranking of the search queries that increased the most from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5, NASA was No. 1, followed by the briefly married Britney Spears. Mars photos were No. 3.

All this excitement over the landing of a remote controlled robots onto a rock strewn landscape that looks like Afghanistan. The reaction to Spirit demonstrates that the public will be thrilled and inspired by sending humans to Mars.

There are other, more rational reasons to go to Mars.

Science: Like America's effort to reach the moon, sending humans to Mars will cause a boom in scientific discoveries. Like the Apollo program it will inspire young people to become scientists.

Technology: Sending humans to Mars will produce new technology and products, in addition to the thousands of spinoffs which have already resulted from the technology developed for space flight. These spinoffs include all kinds of things, from improved brake linings to virtual reality.

Economics: A program to send humans to Mars will also generate econonmic activity. It is estimated that every dollar the U.S. spends on the space program generates $7 in the form of corporate and personal income taxes from increased jobs and economic growth.

Human Survival Insurance: Mars has the resources that can support life. It has water in the form of ice, carbon and nitrogen. Mars can be the testing ground proving whether humanity can become a multi-planet species.

Matt

Jim, while being the first ones back to the Moon is certainly motivation for some, I personally want to see mankind continue to explore Space for knowledge. Staring at the stars is literally staring back through time, to the beginnings of the universe. Traveling to different worlds may yield clues about our own origins. And perhaps, if mining techniques are invented that work in zero-gee, the opportunity for interstellar (or at least inter-planetary) commerce will emerge.

It's about more than bragging rights. To many, it's about a search for knowledge that can't be found anywhere else.

Jim Blevins

This proposal to send men back to the moon and on to mars is one of the worst ideas ever concieved. There is nothing in our solar system that we know of that is worth the amount of money it would take to get it. Face it our solar system is rocks and dust. The real payoff if for scientists and engineers, as they will make tons of money. Never mind that there won't be a payoff on the project. This is a typical pyramid of our times. A huge tribute to the leader of our country who shows that he commands the power to funnel huge amounts of human labor and money into something that will yield nothing. Just like the pyramids!!! Hundreds of years from now our ancestors will wonder how we could have been such a stupid society to by hyped into wasting such a large amount of money, especially in light of all of the pressing problems that we now face. I am horrified at the thought of my tax money being wasted on such a massive scale, all to build a big tribute to Bush. Repubicans cost conscious?......that is the joke of our times. 200 years ago, I believe that when the King of England wanted to skim way less money than this, that it caused a Revolution.

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