Getting to Mars

As a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo missions (well almost), I want to post this article of sci am. Well, these days there are a lot of articles on returning to the moon and going to Mars due to the anniversary, but whatever, they are still fascinating articles. It is an article authored by a former Apollo 17 astronaut and only scientist/geologist to go to the moon, Harrison Schmitt, and what was unfortunately the last Apollo mission. Basically, he talks on how astronauts could get to Mars and methods to exploring it, and at the same time, how it is similar/different to going to the moon. While a lot of it is speculative, all achievements begin with great ideas, right? ^_^

Although the mag had an insert at the side which caught my attention. It went like the following:

The Lost Decade

Author Harrison Schmitt has long argued that the cancellation of the Apollo program in 1972 was a costly mistake, and NASA administrator Michael Griffin made the same point in a Mar. 2007 paper. If NASA had stuck with Apollo technology rather than opting to develop a whole new system -The Space Shuttle- even the tight budgets of the time would have been enough to fly four times a year to Earth orbit, expand the Skylab space station and go to the moon twice a year. With incremental improvement, the system could have gone to Mars. “If we had done all this,” Griffin wrote, ” we could be on Mars today, not writing about it as a subject for the next 50 years.

Which in a way makes me sad. I wonder how different things would have been had the program continued. I wonder… Would have arrived Mars by now, or would things have remained the same? And were the space shuttles really necessary in order to bring all of those equipments into space, or could they have done something similar with lower costs? Besides, wasn’t the fact that the shuttles were reusable a good thing? So much questions, so little answers… If I had a crystal ball which could have looked into an alternate future, that would have been cool. ^_^


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