As you may have already guessed, it turns out there’s some risky business involved in getting to Mars. And NASA inspector general Paul K. Martin is reviewing the situation only to find the schedule for overcoming all these risks is “overly optimistic.”
There are a lot of questions that need answering, like what kind of habitats should researchers be working on? But NASA hasn’t even finished the task of building a ship that will protect astronauts from cosmic rays over the 6 month journey and survive the occasional, more powerful solar flares. Deep space is risky business, much more so than what astronauts experience on the International Space Station. What’s more, this organization is trying to achieve it with limited funds.
Budget cuts have caused NASA to spread its funds thinly over many different departments, according to reports. So much so that there’s never enough to take any one piece of the greater Mars project to the next level.
But some don’t even see the reason in sending a man to Mars, let alone increase the budget.
“There’s just no real way to justify human exploration solely on the basis of science,” Cynthia Phillips, a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute, said in a recent interview. “For the cost of sending one human to Mars, you could send an entire flotilla of robots.”
For many people it’s the idea of sending humans to Mars that gives it such an allure. It shows the power of human ingenuity and fulfills the sci-fi dreams books, like The Martian, have so long romanticized. Perhaps the trip has no monetary value, but the value of having a human connection to another planet so far from Earth is powerful.
Well, Elon, I guess its up to you.