Should We Go To Mars Right Now?
Ian Barber

Should we go to Mars? This is a huge question, and I think to start answering it we must ask ourselves if we can go to Mars. Presently we cannot, at least a human being cannot. A human might make it to mars, but there is no guarantee with today’s technology that that person could ever make it back. There could be great benefits that come from going to Mars, one of the largest of which is a better understanding of how our universe was created. Here is an article that makes some interesting points as to why we should consider going to mars. http://eolit.hrw.com/hlla/writersmodel/pdf/W_P0905.pdf?WebLogicSession=Qhzx0UpELNmxostoouz8PtunTC7282b88xxi4HL8wyc3K7pzFgng|19056100342224463/167838195/6/6000/6000/7002/7002/6000/-1 This author[']s opinions should be taken with a large grain of salt, sea salt perhaps. Firstly Kim Stanley Robinson is a science fiction writer, not a scientist. I think many scientists would truly like for us to be able to explore Mars, but understand that it is too large of a task for us to undertake at the moment. In fact I do not believe that it would be responsible for this country to start a mars exploration program for several reasons. Firstly it is so incredibly expensive, with the economy the way it is today it would be ludicrous to spend the millions of dollars it would take to reach Mars. That money would be better spent on improving our critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and the electrical grid. Secondly and in my opinion more importantly, there is a huge risk to human life involved with a trip to mars. It would be irresponsible to send humans to Mars, even if they were willing to sacrifice themselves.
How would we get there? Humans have spent much time in space, and we are getting very good at spending long amounts of time in space. It supposedly would take about 500 days to get to there and another 300 to return. This is just the travel time. The scientists would likely spend up to a year once there, or at least this would be desirable in order to make the most of the very expensive trip. So we are talking about scientists spending upwards of three years in space. This to me seems impossible.[Good point!] This article suggests that if scientists reached Mars they would only be able to stay for about 30 days due to the orbits of the planets necessary for travel. http://www.edb.utexas.edu/missiontomars/bench/rt.html If we can only spend 30 days should we go? This is up for debate[,]: it can be sure that we would get much useful knowledge out of those thirty days, but would it be worth the billions of dollars spent?
http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/ While i was finding some information for this wiki entry I stumbled upon nasa’s Mars Program website. This website is awesome! It has expansive amounts of information about the Mars rovers, and a database of all the photos the rovers have taken while they were active on mars. It also tells of a Mars drama that is going on at this very moment. The Spirit rover has gotten stuck on the edge of a crater. Scientists on earth are desperately trying to form a plan to get the rover unstuck. The rover did not get stuck without some good coming from it though. While the rover was trying to dig itself out it discovered sulfates[.][--] A mineral that is found near steam vents. Here is the link to the story http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/02dec_troy.htm?list46156.
It is hard for me to not get off topic on the subject of Mars. If find it so interesting and it truly peaks [piques] my curiosity. It is because of this I can understand why scientists want to go to Mars so badly. I think for us as humans to go to Mars there are many factors that first must be right. Firstly I don’t think that the United States should pay the entire bill. It should be a worldwide effort[,]: it will not only be the United States that benefits from what is learned on Mars, so everyone should have to pay for it. Secondly we should not even consider going to mars until we can get our explorers home safely. http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=8202 This is an excellent article that gives some more insight to the dangers that might await astronauts on Mars. Finally a reason that relates to my first reason, at least in the United States, we should not be funding a space mission to Mars until we can afford it. Our economy is too weak right now to be able to justify any extra activities such as a Mars mission.
I know that this piece seems overwhelmingly against a mars mission. I simply remain skeptical that it is a good idea for us to go to mars any time soon. I would love for humans to make it to mars someday, but only when the time is right. I cant imagine what the pictures coming back would look like, the pictures from the mars rovers alone are beautiful. I can only imagine what high definition pictures would look like. http://climate.uvic.ca/climate-lab/front_page_pics/marssunset.800.jpeg Finally here is a picture of a sunset on Mars. I think the picture speaks for itself, it truly does make me reconsider my position that we should not go to Mars yet.