Prediction is always a gamble, but I feel quite confident that before the end of the 21st century, human beings will have set foot on the surface of the planet Mars. In fact, I rather suspect that the Mars trip will be complete well within the first half of the next century. Enough studies have been done so that we have a reasonably good idea of how the trip will be done and how long it will take. There are a number of new technologies which need to be developed if the trip is to come off; some are absolute requirements, and others can be worked around by considerably increasing the weight of the spacecraft. There are a number of open questions as to how the trip is to be undertaken. Will it be a Soviet expedition, an American expedition, or a cooperative expedition? How will this trip fit into the larger context of a space program?
KeywordsEurope Helium Expense Geran
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.For a general discussion of Mars missions, see John Butler, “Mission and Space Vehicle Concepts,” in M.B. Duke et al., Manned Mars Missions: Working Group Papers (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1986), NTIS Documents N87-17722 through N87-17759.Google Scholar
- 2.Kerry Mark Joels, The Mars One Crew Manual (New York: Ballantine Books, 1985). see also Gus R. Babb and William R. Stump, “Comparison of Mission Design Options for Manned Mars Missions,” in Duke et al., Manned Mars Missions: Working Group Papers, pp. 162-188.Google Scholar
- 3.National Commission on Space, Pioneering the Space Frontier (New York: Bantam Books, 1986), p. 136.Google Scholar
- 4.Space Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, Space Science in the 21st Century: Imperatives for the Decades 1995–2015, (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988); see also Craig Covault, “Science Board Proposes New Space Program Direction,” Aviation Week (August 1, 1988), pp. 36-40.Google Scholar
- 5.I’m writing this in the summer of 1988, at one of those times which recur at two-year intervals when Mars rises around sunset, is high in the south at midnight, and sets in the west around sunrise.Google Scholar
- 6.Spark Matsunaga, The Mars Project (New York: Hill and Wang, 1986).Google Scholar
- 7.I’m using a world population of about 5.3 billion people and a combined population for the United States, the USSR, Japan, and Western Europe of 1 billion.Google Scholar
- 8.National Commission on Space, Pioneering the Space Frontier, pp. 175-180.Google Scholar
- 9.For example, Leon Jaroff (with Glenn Garelik, J. Madeliene Nash, and Richard Woodbury), “Onward to Mars,” Time (July 18, 1988), pp. 46-53; William J. Cook (with Jeff Trimble and William Allman), “Red Star Rising,” U.S. News and World Report (May 16, 1988), pp. 48-54.Google Scholar
- 10.We were talking at Gary Wegner’s home in Hanover, New Hampshire; Bisnovatyi-Kogan and I were both attending an International Astronomical Union Colloquium on White Dwarf Stars in August 1988.Google Scholar