LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Send humans to Mars — soon

Story Topics
Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

Polls from the 1960s and ‘70s regarding popular opinion about the Apollo missions show relatively low levels of support for the undertakings. Today, we are seeing many of the arguments used then in protest of the lunar program coming from the mouths of naysayers of a human mission to Mars: It’s too expensive; we have problems here on Earth that require money; and going to another planet is tantamount to running from our own messes.

Yet in the decades since Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, much of the Apollo generation reported being supportive of the missions while they were taking place. Perhaps this revised history has something to do with the numerous, now-ubiquitous gadgets we have, thanks to the lunar program (satellite dishes, medical imaging devices, and weather forecasting are a mere few), not to mention the national morale boost and stimulus to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education the Apollo missions provided us. If time softens the lens of history, it is no wonder those dismal approval ratings have so faded from the national view.

The Apollo program and its crown jewel, the moon landings, are today viewed as unequivocal successes, but one wonders what else we might have accomplished at the time had those at the helm of the program had the full force of the nation behind them. It is too late now to know, of course, but it is not too late to take measures where Mars is concerned.

With billions of unexplored, likely habitable planets in our galaxy alone, it is imperative that we not allow the “Earth myopia” of some to overwhelm popular opinion and keep us confined to Earth. What if Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama had bowed to the pressures they undoubtedly faced from detractors in their own times and stayed home because there were social or political issues in their native countries?

Mars may well hold the keys to numerous mysteries back here on Earth. There are potential breakthroughs to be made in human physiology — for example, can humans live on another planet? — that only a human mission to Mars will allow us to make. On the scientific front, going to Mars will be a major step in helping us learn whether life exists on other planets. In the final analysis, a human mission to the red planet by the 2030s is a goal we all can and should stand behind.

CHRIS CARBERRY
Executive director
Explore Mars Inc.
Beverly, Mass.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts