For some, Mars is the answer to man’s future survival. Others say Mars is too far, too dangerous, and too expensive for humans to explore. However, according to some experts, NASA has been going around in circles with the space program instead of focusing on a mission to Mars— the challenge that has been staring scientists in the face.
Mars is the planet most like Earth and it’s the planet with the most life-sustaining resources. Some disagree, though, because if humans are sent to Mars, they need to be returned alive. Nobody has been able to guarantee that this is possible.
Dr. Robert Zubrin, aerospace engineer, firmly believes that Mars is the answer. In the early 1990s he was the head of a program called Mars Direct. His team developed a mission to Mars that could be done with less than NASA’s projected costs and within as little as ten years. Zubrin believes we are at a crossroads: we either muster up the courage to go or stay and risk decay.
The movement to send humans to Mars began at the University of Colorado in 1978 when a graduate student in Astro-Geophysics, Chris McKay, gave a small seminar on the possibility of introducing life to Mars. After Viking 1 landed on Mars, it sent images of resources that could sustain life, but there was no evidence of life. This led a group of graduate students to get together to try to figure out if it were possible to put life there.
Dr. Zubrin along with Dr. Chris McKay formed The Mars Society, whose purpose is to further the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. This organization has attracted the interest of enthusiasts from all over the world.