NASA: To survive we must fly to Mars

Although at the moment the human species is not threatened by anything major, statistics are merciless. And NASA chief Charles Bolden is aware of that. During the Humans to Mars conference in Washington he said that if we as a species want to live indefinitely we have to fly to Mars.

NASA: To survive we must fly to Mars

Although at the moment the human species is unlikely to be threatened by anything major, the statistics are merciless. And NASA chief Charles Bolden realizes this, stating at the Humans to Mars conference in Washington that if we as a species want to live indefinitely we must fly to Mars.

Bolden, who is a retired major general of the U.S. Marines and a veteran of space shuttle flights (he took part in the Hubble Telescope’s unfolding in space, among other things), also has a three-step plan ready for humans to land on the surface of the Red Planet as early as 2030.

This will include pulling an asteroid into lunar orbit as early as 2015, testing plant breeding in space, and using 3D printers for ongoing repairs in space.

These three steps are to enable a 3-year return trip to Mars, during which we are not only to get to know our space neighbor better, but also to further refine the technology so that in the future manned flights to further distances are relatively easy, cheap and safe.

He believes that “if humanity is to survive indefinitely we must become a multi-planetary species. We need to fly to Mars, and Mars will be just another step towards expansion beyond the Solar System.”

And he is absolutely right – even if we exclude all internal threats they indicate that on average once every six months the Earth is hit by cosmic rocks carrying with them the energy equivalent to an explosion of 1-600 kilotons of TNT (the Fat Man atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki had a charge strength of about 20 kilotons), and – as the craters present on our planet show – the impact of a larger object, with the force to potentially destroy the entire human civilization, is only a matter of time. The chance of that happening is 100% – the question is how much time we have left.

As the once famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson neatly put it – asteroids are nature’s tool for asking us the question – how is your space program going?

So are we capable of taking the risk and continuing to engage in our little wars instead of taking a step forward and securing our species so that it can survive for as long as possible? This is all in the hands of the decision makers.

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