40 years ago today the Appollo XI mission landed on Earth’s Moon and Neil Angstrom pronnonced the now well known: “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Like I said in my facebook status, 40 years since our giant leap… maybe it’s time to try another one. Mars is something like 35 Millions km away, yeah that a terrifyingly farther then the Moon is, but the reward for going there are so much greater.
First because the challenge to get there are so much greater, think about it to get to Mars we have to be able to create a environnement that can sustain human life in the most hostile environnement known to us. Not just for minutes, hours or even days, but for years and without the protection of Earth magnetic field to protect the astronauts from the sun deadly radiation. Second because Mars is another planet and if we listen to the doom prophets and we are indeed using with our lifestyle 7 Earth worth of ressources the ability to harvest another (or more) planets worth of ressources would give us a lot more time to figure out a solution to this problem. Third it will be a steping stone toward the Asteroid belt and beyond where even more fantastic discovery awaits humanity and for the capitalistic minded even more ressources.
Some of you might say that before we go to another world and destroy it with our crap and stupidity we should solve our problem here. Well, part of the solution to our stupity and crap rest in being able to expend and understand more and more of the cosmo. Most of our problem and the source of a lot of our stupidity can be tranced back to bad gestion of ressources and/or distribution of those same ressources. With space exploration we need to find away to reuse as close to 100% of the ressources we have as we can. It’s simply not feasible to be as wastefull as we are on Earth with it’s wide open space and plentifull ressources in the close small dirt poor confine of a spaceship.
You might also say that our money would be better spent ending hunger or curing disease. Well consider this: the world space exploration budget (25 G$) is small then Quebec’s health care systme cost (29 G$), it doesn’t register on the global budget (being less then 0.05% of the world GDP). The amongts of money expended toward space exploration could be multiplied by 20 before it reached level significant on the world scale.. and you know what even mutiplied by 20 it would be less then Canada’s GDP (it would only be about a 3rd!) Not to mention that even multiplied by that 20 it only be the level of the US military spending. So the point is that humanity could spend those 500 G$ on space and still have enough money left to fight disease, cure world hunger and teach every kids on the world to read and write, hell they’re would be enough money left to keep enough armies around to wage wars for years.
The main difference is that instead of looking at our feet, we would be looking upward, toward a bright future, wonderfull discovery, amazing adventure and new worlds. So I say onward toward the stars!