Is Colonizing Mars an Imperative? USA's New Space Strategy Says "Yes"
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February 03, 2010

Is Colonizing Mars an Imperative? USA's New Space Strategy Says "Yes"

500x_Hi_Earth_1"I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."

Stephen Hawking

The Obama Administration unveiled its new far-sighted budget for NASA, which scraps moon missions but puts the focus on developing new space technologies, exploring the solar system with robots, and pushing humans closer to living offworld. All of which will be funded a budget increase to NASA of $6 billion over five years.

Under the new budget, we'd see a revamped NASA program focused on scientific innovation, rather than recreating old experiments. Specifically, as NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said: We will invent and demonstrate large-scale, new and novel approaches to spaceflight such as in-orbit fuel depots and rendezvous and docking technologies, and closed-loop life support systems so that our future robotic and human exploration missions are both highly capable and more affordable . . . as well as providing $3 billion over five years for robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for later human exploration of the moon, Mars and nearby asteroids.

The new budget also earmarks over $3 billion for "new engines, propellants, materials and combustion processes, ultimately leading to innovative ways of accessing space to go beyond low Earth orbit." An additional $4.9 billion goes to generalized space technology research, and $2 billion goes to satellites that will help observe climate change and other Earth processes.

Obama is sensibly ceding space flight development to the private sector, with new ventures such as SpaceX who will be will be ferrying astronauts to the ISS, and other aerospace companies who are very close to launching humans into orbit. So the government would be partnering with private industry to send astronauts to space.

Buzz Aldrin, often an outspoken critic of the space program, said: "I also believe the steps we will be taking following the President's direction will best position NASA and other space agencies to send humans to Mars and other exciting destinations as quickly as possible. To do that, we will need to support many types of game-changing technologies NASA and its partners will be developing."

Hawking said that any long-term site for a human base should have a significant gravity field, because long missions in microgravity lead to health issues such as bone loss.

Hawking favors human space exploration, rather than just sending robots to explore space, a position taken by Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, among others.

Eventually, Hawking said, humanity should try to expand to Earth-like planets around other stars. If only 1% of the 1000 or so stars within 30 light years of Earth has an Earth-size planet at the right distance from its star for liquid water to exist, that would make for 10 such planets in our solar system's neighbourhood, he said.

"We cannot envision visiting them with current technology, but we should make interstellar travel a long-term aim," he said. "By long term, I mean over the next 200 to 500 years." Humanity can afford to battle earthly problems like climate change and still have plenty of resources left over for colonizing space, he said.

"Even if we were to increase the international [space exploration] budget 20 times to make a serious effort to go into space, it would only be a small fraction of world GDP," he said. GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is a measure of a country's economic activity.

Hawking  believes that traveling into space is the only way humans will be able to survive in the long-term. "Life on Earth," Hawking has said, "is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers ... I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space." 

The problems with Hawking’s solution is that while it may save a “seed” of human life- a few lucky specimens- it won’t save Earth’s inhabitants. The majority of Earthlings would surely be left behind on a planet increasingly unfit for life.

Hawking argued that the world can afford 0.25% of its collective GDP to devote to space colonization. "Isn't our future worth a quarter of a percent?" he asked. The physicist also speculated on the reasons that SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) projects have not yet detected any alien civilizations, offering three possibilities: that life of any kind is very rare in the universe; that simple life forms are common, but intelligent life rare; or that intelligent life tends to quickly destroy itself.

"Personally, I favour the second possibility – that primitive life is relatively common, but that intelligent life is very rare," he said. "Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth."

Casey Kazan

Image credit: Our friends at gizmodo.com

Comments

Humanity has to become a multi planet species. We can solve our issues here on earth and explore space as well.

we should have been on mars already and establishing perminant lunar colonies in the 80's and 90's. Instead the moon is still a memory and Mars(and beyond) are still a dream.

I honestly amd whole heartly believe that we MUST take to the stars. If science finds that we are not alone in the universe, then we are ethically bound to introduce ourselves at some point. If science finds that we are truely alone in the universe, then we obligated to explore the Cosmos.

I pray I live long enough to see this.

With every China man wanting to be and American/European style consumer, a 1,000 years seems optimistic!

Surely we can spend more in space and science in general when we spen Hundreds of Millions Per DAY, Hundreds of Billions per YEAR in War. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_War

I'm going to read the rest of the article but this is all I' want to post.

I cannot believe that Nasa's budget for saving humanity is only just over one billon dollars a year.

It makes me want to kill Bill Gates for being worth more than Nasa.

It's wrong man.

Okay, so they get like 10-13 billion a year.
Still
They are trying to extend our ability to survive.
I still think they should recieve more.


May be we are out of phase.

I heard Obama on Monday the Feb 2nd in TV stating that :'if NASA wants to open a base on the moon they better seek private funds as there are heavy budget shrinks for NASA'......

Who is right and who says the truth ??

I Misunderstood Obama speech ???

Strange article on Mars......'Mars ....IF any' it would NOT be an Obama issue and decision. I understand that it will be somebody else's decision b(next president and congress ??).

Please clarify this matter.

Thanks

fuck you obama, you're just another pawn that lies to the nation. when will you people realize that they dont care about us? they only care for each other, personal interests, and an agenda according to the first two things i said.

'I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."-Hawking .

We are not sure that man kind will survive the next 1000 years.
Ou civilization might succumb to to disasters brought by human activity,such as Nuclear wars,over population( at time malthus
is right),global warming etc .If our civilization survives long enough (a 50 % possibility predicted by S. hawking),it seems almost inevitable that our decendants will leave the confines of our solar system.At the speed of our current space craft(Pionner,voyager,Cassini,New horizons) the journey to even to the nearest star (prozia centuri :4 light years) will take 50,000 years. From this stand point ,we are far from interstellar flight as astelophithciens were from space age .

A day in mars is just over 24 hours ,its polar caps has water ice as provided by path finder . we dont know why the once hospitable palnet turned to a frozzen and barren desert billion of yesr ago..Mar Global suevyor is searching for landing sites
for future rovers..Hope our future generations will start their colonies there ..

Note thathuman kind need to exist and survive in earth with out self destruction to venture into space.If we destroy ourselfs,all our acheivemnts in sceince,art and philosophy will be lost for ever.But if we survive and choose to continue the exploration of space,we may be embarking on a path that will take us to the stars ..Future generations will look at Vangogh's
in a different way ....

'I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."-Hawking .

We are not sure that man kind will survive the next 1000 years.
Ou civilization might succumb to to disasters brought by human activity,such as Nuclear wars,over population( at time malthus
is right),global warming etc .If our civilization survives long enough (a 50 % possibility predicted by S. hawking),it seems almost inevitable that our decendants will leave the confines of our solar system.At the speed of our current space craft(Pionner,voyager,Cassini,New horizons) the journey to even to the nearest star (prozia centuri :4 light years) will take 50,000 years. From this stand point ,we are far from interstellar flight as astelophithciens were from space age .

A day in mars is just over 24 hours ,its polar caps has water ice as provided by path finder . we dont know why the once hospitable palnet turned to a frozzen and barren desert billion of yesr ago..Mar Global suevyor is searching for landing sites
for future rovers..Hope our future generations will start their colonies there ..

Note thathuman kind need to exist and survive in earth with out self destruction to venture into space.If we destroy ourselfs,all our acheivemnts in sceince,art and philosophy will be lost for ever.But if we survive and choose to continue the exploration of space,we may be embarking on a path that will take us to the stars ..Future generations will look at Vangogh's
in a different way ....

'I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."-Hawking .

We are not sure that man kind will survive the next 1000 years.
Ou civilization might succumb to to disasters brought by human activity,such as Nuclear wars,over population( at time malthus
is right),global warming etc .If our civilization survives long enough (a 50 % possibility predicted by S. hawking),it seems almost inevitable that our decendants will leave the confines of our solar system.At the speed of our current space craft(Pionner,voyager,Cassini,New horizons) the journey to even to the nearest star (prozia centuri :4 light years) will take 50,000 years. From this stand point ,we are far from interstellar flight as astelophithciens were from space age .

A day in mars is just over 24 hours ,its polar caps has water ice as provided by path finder . we dont know why the once hospitable palnet turned to a frozzen and barren desert billion of yesr ago..Mar Global suevyor is searching for landing sites
for future rovers..Hope our future generations will start their colonies there ..

Note thathuman kind need to exist and survive in earth with out self destruction to venture into space.If we destroy ourselfs,all our acheivemnts in sceince,art and philosophy will be lost for ever.But if we survive and choose to continue the exploration of space,we may be embarking on a path that will take us to the stars ..Future generations will look at Vangogh's
in a different way ....


'I don't think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years unless we spread into space."-Hawking .

We are not sure whether man kind will survive the next 1000 years.Our civilization might succumb to disasters brought by human activity,such as Nuclear wars,over population( at time malthus is right),global warming etc .If our civilization survives long enough (a 50 % possibility predicted by S. hawking),it seems almost inevitable that our decendants will leave the confines of our solar system.At the speed of our current space craft(Pionner,voyager,Cassini,New horizons) the journey to even to the nearest star (proxima centuri :4 light years) will take 50,000 years. From this stand point ,we are far from interstellar flight as astrelopitheciens were from space age .

A day in mars is just over 24 hours ,its polar caps has water ice as provided by path finder . we dont know why the once hospitable palnet turned to a frozzen and barren desert billion of years ago..Mar Global suevyor is searching for landing sites
for future rovers..Hope our future generations will start their colonies there ..

Note thathuman kind need to exist and survive in earth with out self destruction to venture into space.If we destroy ourselfs,all our acheivemnts in science,art and philosophy will be lost for ever.But if we survive and choose to continue the exploration of space,we may be embarking on a path that will take us to the stars ..Hope Future generations will look at Vangogh's 'starry night' in a different way ....

"The problems with Hawking’s solution is that while it may save a “seed” of human life- a few lucky specimens- it won’t save Earth’s inhabitants. The majority of Earthlings would surely be left behind on a planet increasingly unfit for life."

I agree with you. It's far better we all die together. Let's have a chorus of "We are Family!"

Wow! another 6 billion over 5 years. gosh that's almost 1.17 billion a year! What a windfall, it'll cover inflation .. maybe, you know, like if the economy doesn't collapse when the dollar is devalued by half.

Oh, talking points boy, the Tarp bailout, of unions and GS bankers on Obama's staff, more than covered the cost of both Iraq and Afghanistan for the last eight years. BTW National Priorities Project is hardly an unbiased source. Even so, FWIW by their own estimate, as of, "January 1, 2008 it was nearly 482 billion dollars." Ppfffttt chump change in Obamaland.

Life on Mars will only be possible in a Matrix-like structure. We'll never (at least not within 1000 years) be able to recreate the required processes of nature there.

errm, can someone tell me the significance of the President of the United States being photoshopped up to resemble the Colonel Sanders face in the Kentucky Fried Chicken logo ?

One wonders what a Type 2 Civilization might make of our prejudices and warlike nature, hopefully when they get here and see the wondrous resources of our Planet they will see us as as we see an infestation of Cockroaches on a vegetable patch.

For all the delusions of majesty that our species alludes too in finding our place in the cosmos perhaps we are nothing more than cockroaches.
May their God have mercy on our filthy souls.

Space exploration has had a low priority for a LONG time. Cutting the budget might actually help, if private industry starts getting into the space race in a serious, earnest way, like Branson's aerospace entries.

Privately or by government funding, we need to establish a firm( er ) permanent human presence in space. The ISS is a good start, but we need more.

a space lazer for zapping asteroids to knock them
off target is worth more than any other endevour

We already have an established human presence on the Moon and Mars. Technology wise, it goes way beyond this regarding our means of getting to the moon and mars. This information is highly classified and this is why I want to remain anonymous. I believe it is necessary for the general public to know this because they are constantly being duped into believing lies every single day. This is not a laughable matter, do some of your own research and question the mainstream media and knowledge because much of what people think to be true is false and it is a shame. Please people, think for yourselves.

The idea that we have to achieve peace and milk and cookies and behave like Hugh Hefner clones before we ahould be let out of the crib into space is the most ignorant illiterate and self-righteous concept ever.

We cannot become mature and wise as species WITHOUT EXPLORATION. Industry and creativity are positive transforming activities. Contemplation and sitting in a lotus position inhaling from a fruity bong isn't going make us better people nor is any of the million flavors of navel gazing guilt trips.

Get off your god damn high horses and roll up your sleeves so maybe you can learn something.

The US has had a black manned space program for a very long time now. In fact anti-gravity technology, invented by folks that brought you AC power, such as Nikola Tesla or TT Brown were invented before NASA was even a space program. A scan through the world patent archives will show you patents for UFOs and exotic propulsion technology going way back to the 50s. Funny thing is that many of these patent diagrams look an awful lot like UFO sightings that people claim to see and photograph.

Even Tesla laughed at Einstein's theories about gravity and electro-magnetism. If nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, then why is the gravity from black holes felt well beyond them? Black holes should technically have no effect on the space around them if you follow Einstein's logic, no matter what frame of reference you are in.

Since gravity is a weak force, but propogates VERY rapidly (ie WAY FASTER than light), one simply needs a small amount of electrical energy to overcome this force and travel very rapidly. All proven by Tesla and TT Brown.

NASA is a front, smoke and mirrors organization.

If we can build the B2 bomber that uses this technology in the 80s, I think we can build spacecraft today utilizing the same technology.

The US has had a black manned space program for a very long time now. In fact anti-gravity technology, invented by folks that brought you AC power, such as Nikola Tesla or TT Brown were invented before NASA was even a space program. A scan through the world patent archives will show you patents for UFOs and exotic propulsion technology going way back to the 50s. Funny thing is that many of these patent diagrams look an awful lot like UFO sightings that people claim to see and photograph.

Even Tesla laughed at Einstein's theories about gravity and electro-magnetism. If nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, then why is the gravity from black holes felt well beyond them? Black holes should technically have no effect on the space around them if you follow Einstein's logic, no matter what frame of reference you are in.

Since gravity is a weak force, but propogates VERY rapidly (ie WAY FASTER than light), one simply needs a small amount of electrical energy to overcome this force and travel very rapidly. All proven by Tesla and TT Brown.

NASA is a front, smoke and mirrors organization.

If we can build the B2 bomber that uses this technology in the 80s, I think we can build spacecraft today utilizing the same technology.

Wait... this article is a puff piece. We WOULD ALREADY be on the moon and Mars were it not for politicians continuously KILLING off space program projects. This latest Obama hit on NASA gets us NOT ONE INCH closer to anything. We were already mid-stride in getting back out of low Earth orbit and along comes the ax to set us back to square one again. And if we don't go now, when do we go? What makes ANYONE think that having no real concrete goal gets us anywhere? So absurd!

To Luke: Here we go again with all the inanne rants about how we supposedly have black space ops and anti-gravity and secret Tesla engines. Come on... stop popping those mushrooms and get back to planet Earth. You want to say these things exist then how about some concrete evidence and I do not mean hearsay. So many whack jobs.

Puhleeez... stop with the Hoagland inspired stupidity and idiocy about NASA being some kind of smoke screen for some secret reptilian hyperdimensional organization. Do you realize how stupid that is? Besides, Hoagland has NO FORMAL education and doesn't have a clue with his incessant babbling on the Coast to Coast radio show (not a good source for anything but sensationalist garbage).

Former head of skunkworks Ben E. Rich ended his presentation to a crowd at UCLA with this whopper; "We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity….. anything you can imagine we already know how to do.”
Ben wrote a good memoir about his days at Lockheed ("Skunkworks" - worth a read.)

In the 1950's the U.S. was doing a great deal of research into Gravity control / anti gravity. To think nothing came out of that is to simply not paying close attention to all the advances in niche technologies and hacks such as Hutchinson demonstrating the principle (albeit without any control or ability to explain it) repeatedly. If you don't believe we are wayyyyy further advanced than what the public believes, well...that's just perfect actually !


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