Mission to Mars
Like most people, I find the prospect of man reaching Mars exciting. But are we ready and have we considered the long-term cost of sustainability given the current level of propulsion technology? Our ability to provide the means of a return trip is almost nil and if we could it would be much more expensive than the trip from the earth. Earth’s orbit is a year and Mar’s is about two. This means that the shortest distance between these planets only occurs once every two years and even then it is at best a five-month trip. Supplies and food will need to be provided ahead of the first manned mission to last for a minimum of two years. As more people are added to the population the number of supply missions required every two years will increase.
It is true that residents will be able to grow a limited amount of produce indoors, but only a small fraction of the requirement. Theoretically, terraforming (or more aptly mars forming) is possible but even the most optimistic time frame for that achievement is at least 100 years.
So, the real issue is how do we develop a means of propulsion that turns the trip into a few which weeks or several days allowing for round trips and for resupply at any time despite the position of the planets? Our focus should be on developing that technology. Over 50% of the population believes that we have been visited by ET in the past and a large % are convinced that ET is with us now. I’m not saying this is true, but if it is there is no way they came here using chemically powered rockets.