You Are Here
Just in case you get lost…
Ok…I did edit it slightly. Curiosity rover took this excellent picture of Earth as a point of light in the night skies of Mars. When I first heard about this I hoped that it included the Mars skyline…and it looks great. I wonder who will be the first to walk along that ridgeline.
Some day…some day very soon…humans will look in the sky and see this sight. In fact, I think I’ll add that to a story I’ve been working on. I’ve written about Mars One and some folks have since talked about it being just another way to die in space, but many have died in the exploration of this planet and we seem to think it was worth it. They became heros. Death and exploration are both part of the human experience. Of course I still hope that no one dies (prematurely) on or on the way to Mars, but how many lives will be saved or improved by the tech advances that will come out of a human exploration of Mars? Which of those advances will help us better understand and explore our own planet? We won’t know until we get it done. Like the lettering on a balloon, everything just grows bigger when we expand our world.
The Mars One effort lands people on the planet to stay. The Inspiration Mars effort wouldn’t land there, but would carry two people in a solar orbit that swings past Mars and then brings them back home. They intend to lauch this mission in 2018.
Red Dragon, a mission design being put together by SpaceX and NASA’s Ames (Sally Ride?) Research Center, would be a sample return mission that is also intended to be flown as if it carried humans. The mission would be proof of concept, to demonstrate that the Dragon spacecraft could deliver people to the Mars surface successfully and safely. It would use no parachute, just the capsule’s retro thrusters. How cool is that?
Mars One in 2024, Inspiration Mars in 2018 , Red Dragon in 2018 (if funded)…did I miss any? These are all aggressive efforts. The opportunity waits only for Mars to swing past Earth again. The technology will arrive before then. If these efforts wait for anything they wait only for support from you.
Would you like to look up and see Earth rising over an alien mountaintop? Think of it.