Getting to Mars:

Where Do We Stand?

Another way to put it is, when do we transition from rhetoric to action? Many have been asking this question for decades, and it is time to make the switch.

Depending on who you talk to and what day it is, NASA’s budget for a humans to Mars mission is between $100 billion and $500 billion. With a total annual budget of $19 billion and change, NASA is not about to get there any time soon. Trump has stated that he would like to see NASA return to its original mission of exploring outer space, with less focus on earth sciences. We agree. It is also rumored that Trump would like to see the NASA budged doubled. Of course, this would have to be approved by Congress. Even then, it is unlikely that 100% of the budget would be devoted to a humans to Mars mission. This brings us back to reality: We won’t be going to Mars any time soon. So far as we know, you can’t propel a spaceship very well using hype as a fuel.

Mars One has a budget of $6 billion for sending four astronauts on a one-way trip. Of course, they don’t have the $6 billion, and their plan definitely leaves out those who wish to return to earth again and see their loved ones. This begs the question of what kind of person would sign up to live out their life under those conditions.

Space-X too, is a long way from getting humans off of this planet and onto another. Although Space-X has made greater technological strides than any other private space venture, they too lack the funding to complete a humans to Mars mission any time soon. In addition, not all of Musk’s ideas appear to have been thoroughly thought through. For example, Musk wants to shorten the time to Mars from 180 to just 80, or even 30 days. Using the minimum amount of fuel needed to escape Earth‘s gravity, a nominal trip to Mars would take approximately six months. Not only would it take more fuel to accelerate a spacecraft to speeds necessary to reach Mars in less time, but “fuel to lift the fuel” must be carried along as well, which decreases efficiency and eventually winds up at a point of diminishing returns. And if that weren’t enough, the faster you go, the more fuel is needed for braking when you arrive at Mars, not to mention the additional fuel to carry that fuel as well.

Which brings us back to once again, as always, to the most feasible and well thought-out plan, Mars Direct (Robert Zubrin), which we support. Dr. Zubrin’s plan has many unique features, including artificial gravity during the trip to Mars, and also producing fuel for the return trip on the surface of Mars itself, thus saving tremendous weight. Zubrin’s plan is constantly being updated as new technology becomes available.

But even with such a plan, we have yet to set a launch date. Why? Simple: money. Even at the bargain price of $30 billion for the Mars Direct mission, this is not the kind of pocket change that wealthy individuals or even nation-states are willing to cough up easily. The answer is, and always has been, cooperation. If just five or six nations work together, the plan becomes doable.

Won’t you join us in our effort to coordinate the first humans to Mars mission??

Join us HERE!

Further reading:

Also recommended: The Case For Mars (Robert Zubrin) Free Press

ISBN-13: 978-1451608113, ISBN-10: 145160811X