Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Question Answers

It's Summer. Time to give over the answers to the SPRING QUESTION.

(This is not a contest)

NASA has planned to send a two man mission on an 18 month trip to the planet Mars. It would take 6 months for the astronauts to get there and after 6 months of exploration another 6 months to return.

Should they do it and why, and if not, why not?
12 diverse and interesting answers.
Do I think that NASA should send a two person mission to Mars. Absolutely not. It would serve no useful purpose and it would put the lives of those two people in unnecessary jeopardy.

I would think that a mission like this would cost many millions of dollars and at a time when many states are going broke, there are deep cuts to infrastructure, education, health, and community programs. The taxpayers are already on the hook to the tune of about 250 million dollars a day to fund the war in Iraq. All of that money has been siphoned away from funds that might have been available to create jobs, house and feed the homeless, stabilize towns and cities across America and provide a better future for both young and old.

We are not good stewards of our own earth and we have caused more problems here than we have fixed. There is absolutely no need to be spending money we don’t have in order to be exploring other planets. We need to get our priorities back in order.


When it comes to Mars, I think that it is innate for man to explore and want to extend his reach. I am all in favor of the project and they could get the money by stopping the useless wars and invest in NASA.


Good question! Since a year on Mars is nearly twice ours --and
elliptical-- the two planets get within 7-month's journey only every 2
Earth-years. So our astronauts would have to stay a year longer on
Mars. On top of this protraction, they would run out of food and have
to eat each other up, which would probably strain their relationship
afterward. I don't think they should do it.

An unpopular view I'm sure.
Trip to Mars is wrong on so many levels, even, perhaps immoral.
We need the expertise, money, dedication, time, here on Earth. Fix things here, make Earth a better place. Don't go chasing waterfalls.
Sure! Why not?
The travel time will reek havoc in their lives but the six months there will give them a ton of information to share..and perhaps experiments can be performed! :)
I have heard that people accomplish a lot in scientific experiments out in space!thanks! Interesting topic DB!
I think man has screwed up earth enough that he should leave the other planets alone and use the time and money spent going to Mars fixing all the damage he's done here on earth.
Yes, because the highest mountain in the solar system is THERE.
why go to mars when you can grow squash in your back yard, or at least
some chives in a window pot. All you can plant on mars is a flag.
Unless to go from Mars to `=7,./[]}#2 where all will be virgin

The human race, if it wants to continue to exist, has to solve its housing problem. In several million years our sun will go supernova and incinerate, during its expansion, the planet Earth. Then, when it cools down to a grey dwarf, what was planet Earth will be a cold rock of ice. Not a good place to live or vacation. We have to start flying around the Universe a la Star Trek and find other inhabitable planets if we wish to continue our future existence as a race. They better find a better propulsion system and more sophisticated means to harness energy, hopefully without hardware and make use of Warp Space (which are only time tunnels or Worms) for getting around more easily. It’s all in Star Trek, we’re just catching up.


Spring Question: Yes. Our greatest advances have come from pure science and discovery missions. We need to keep the ball rolling.


I'm going to respond to this purely from a "seems right" standpoint; that is, I know nothing more about the situation than what you've told me.

Anyway, I suppose traveling to Mars could be an utter waste of resources--time, money and energy that could be channeled toward solving some of our own planets problems instead of involving another. But, to be honest, even if we relocated the time, money and energy it may take to send two men to Mars, I can't bring myself to believe that it would certainly go to something like, for example, improving hospitals in Dhaka. So with all of that aside, every part of my being is screaming, "Why the hell not?! Go to Mars!"

But none of that is what I've really wanted to say to you. What truthfully came to mind when I read your question was this whole concept of mystery and wonderment, and all of these cliche ideas that still make me feel brave and strange and beautiful, regardless of their tendency to be overused in cheap literary settings. Visiting a different planet entirely, a place that authors and dreamers and children have fantasized about; a place that's so unknown, sometimes I feel as though its mass is more daydream than it is anything else.

Given not only the ability but the willingness and eagerness to explore, it would be a grand opportunity to waste. And not just for the intellectual gain either, which is, of course, very important... but for the experiences of the astronauts, the engineers and the planners, the people tracking the progress the whole year and a half it's happening, and for the people who tune in right at the end. These could be the kind of experiences, I think, that lead to understanding, empathy, introspection and perspective... not that experiences like that are necessarily farther away than the backyard garden, but they're valuable nonetheless, and, I think, are well worth a trip to Mars.

The potential there, the possibility, all of it reminds me quite a bit of how I felt when I finished reading A Wrinkle In Time in third grade. Childishly excited, maybe, but sincerely so.
Thank you all. Take a breath. SUMMER QUESTION is coming.


Arlene (AJ) said...

Wow DB what an interesting and informative read on Mars, the earth, current financial conditions of our country....you should have this one posted in a newspaper for the world to read. Amazing.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Disappointing there are not more in favor of such an adventure.