In the documentary, Ultimate Mars Challenge, we learn of the cutting edge engineering that went into designing the Curiosity Mars rover. This shows us what we can accomplish, so why do we so often settle for less?
Why do we settle for archaic, inefficient combustion engines in our cars? Why do we accept claims that fusion energy is always fifty years away? I remember many years ago plans were made for humans to explore Mars in 2019, which seemed a long way in the future, and yet here we are. We brag about how much computing power we carry in our pockets, but what do we really use it for?
Why do we settle?
NASA’s most ambitious Mars probe is set to land late today (or early tomorrow, depending where you live). NASA is one of the few government programs that actually invests in a major — and important — industry that supports high-tech jobs and science and technology advancement. However, the geniuses in Washington has been throwing NASA under the bus as of late. They’d rather bailout unsuccessful ventures. But I digress. At least NASA is finally relying more on the commercialization of space. Now if they only would do that with the International Space Station.
Man’s obssesion with Mars has been detailed by many authors in great fiction. Ray Bradbury’s classic The Martian Chronicles showed us the ruins of a dying world.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ swashbuckling John Carter series is an amazing adventure series decades ahead of its time.
Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is a detailed epic on man’s settlement and terraforming of the Red Planet.
There are many others, but these are of the best. Even though Mars is a dead world, it still draws us to it as one of the most dynamic — and mysterious — worlds in our Solar System. As unfolds in Robinson’s novels, it’s the most likely world for humans to colonize if we can ever begin to look further than next week. Robert Zubrin’s The Case For Mars explains the reasons and means for exploring the Red World.
In an era where the politicians lack any vision, and most people wander aimlessly through life, maybe Mars will inspire a few to raise the bar.
Especially in this election year with the same empty promises and waves of deception, Mars could be just what we need.
Categories: Books, Fiction
Tags: Curiosity, John Carter, JPL, Mars, Mars Direct, Mars rover, Martian Chronicles, NASA, Red Planet, space probes, terraforming, vision, Zubrin