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Mars… “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Why did Jefferson send Lewis and Clark west? Why did Sir Hillary climb Mt. Everest? Why did we go to the moon? Why did Shakleton go to the South Pole? Humans have a capacity for exploration-this is what differentiates us from spruce trees. Ronald Reagan put it best, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” The people will be Americans and the time is now.
Going to Mars gives Americans something to be excited about again. In todays world, many live in constant fear-of terrorism, losing jobs, and other societal problems (i.e., drugs/alcohol/etc.) A mission to Mars would bring the world together. Going to Mars helps reignite a passion for science that is lacking in schools today. Kids love space, and a mission to Mars gives biology, geology, chemistry, and physics teachers real world applications of their field to help students get more interested.
There are real scientific gains to come from a mission to Mars. NASA scientists recently announced that it appears water was once on the Red planet. A mission to Mars helps us understand our own background as humans.
The technology benefits from a mission would pay back many fold. Lots of technology used today that came from the space program is taken for granted. Thirty-five years ago, someone didnt sit down and say “I am going to create the microchip.” They were problem solving for how to get a craft to the moon. Cell phones, MRIs, bar codes, titanium used in golf clubs, food preservative technology-all this comes from past missions in space. I was recently asked to give an example of what we will discover by going to Mars. Obviously though, I am unable to say. If we knew, we would have invented “it”. We cannot begin to comprehend the benefits of space travel.
Either way, we will invest in space. We are currently spending $11 Billion a year to fly the space shuttle and keep the International Space Station. Someone once said well that the ISS exists only as destination for the shuttle, and the shuttle only exists to take astronauts to the ISS. The Colombia Disaster demonstrated the lack of complete safety on the shuttle. The original plan called for all the shuttles to be fazed out by 2004. We can only travel a few miles away from Earth with the shuttle.
The American Institute of Cell Biology recently called the space shuttle the most expensive and inflexible research laboratory built in human history. But finally – We are designed, we are meant, to do this.
“A mans reach should exceed his grasp or whats a heaven for?” (Robert Browning).
Those are my two cents on why we should go to Mars.
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