August 26, 2016, 12:50 pm
Still waiting for humans on Mars
For over 50 years the United States has talked about sending humans to explore the planet Mars. Landing humans on Mars has been an integral goal of U.S. space policy for many years, and the Red Planet has garnered more interest and enthusiasm from the general public than any other destination in space exploration. So why hasn’t humanity cut the gravitational umbilical cord holding us down on our home planet? Why haven’t we walked yet on Mars? What are we waiting for?
While there have been many reasons contributing to our inability to achieve what humanity has dreamed of accomplishing for centuries, inconsistent policy direction has been the primary reason we have not sent humans to Mars, or anywhere else for that matter beyond Low Earth Orbit since the last Apollo crew ascended from the surface of the Moon in 1972. Policy makers and others have provided many so-called explanations over the years, such as “There is no mandate to go to Mars”, or “The time isn’t right”, or “It’s not technically feasible”, or “It’s too risky”, or “Robots can do it better”, or, “We need to fix our infrastructure first”. But these are really just excuses, and none are truly valid.