[FPSPACE] Caves on Mars?
DSFPortree at aol.com
DSFPortree at aol.com
Tue Mar 20 23:29:03 EST 2007
I suspect that Mars is appealing to students for several reasons. Although it
isn't very earthlike, it sure looks that way. Mars has a special place in our
popular culture. There's also the possibility that life exists there.
I've been able to find children's books about exploring Mars for my
four-year-old daughter. I haven't found any about traveling to the moon, lest it be
I doubt that the moon would have the same appeal as Mars even if there were
rovers there now. That there haven't been any rovers there since the early
1970s proves my point, I think.
If we get to the point where we can send people to Mars, then I'm sure that
the duration of the mission would not turn people off. There will be plenty of
big events, then the payoff of humans on Mars. We might even be able to drag
the program out a bit by postponing the payoff - do a piloted flyby, for
example, or a Phobos/Deimos mission, or an opposition-class landing mission followed
by a conjunction-class "base." Geoff Landis argues for the first expedition
to land at one of the poles, the second to land in the mid-lats, then the third
at the equator. After that - or maybe even before the equatorial mission - he
believes that the program would go the way of Apollo.
I personally think that we're a long way from sending humans to Mars. The
moon vs. Mars debate is academic - we're a long way from sending people back to
the moon, too. These just aren't relevant goals, given the costs. Doggedly
adhering to them endangers space exploration.
David S. F. Portree
author & educator
dsfportree at aol.com
Flagstaff Arizona USA
"It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world's
turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like it's
standing still. I can feel it - the turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our
feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, the entire planet is hurtling
around the Sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're
falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little
world, and if we let go..." - The Ninth Doctor
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