How and Why We Must Colonize Mars
The human exploration of Mars is not a task for some future generation. It is a task for ours, says aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin. In his new book, he details a feasible plan.
What's the Latest Development?
Fifteen years ago, aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin published The Case for Mars, calling for resolve among the aerospace community to put humans on the Red Planet. Now he has updated the book to reflect recent scientific achievements: "Today we know exactly what to do. As to cost, SpaceX company president Elon Musk testified directly to the panel that he would be willing to develop a 100 tonne to orbit class H.L.V. (heavy lift launch vehicle) for a fixed-price contract of $2.5 billion. This claim is very credible, since SpaceX recently developed and flew a 10 tonne to orbit medium lifter for a total program cost of $300 million."
What's the Big Idea?
Why is a mission to Mars so vital in the first place? Wasn't the race to the moon, after all, simply a product of Cold War power games? "There are real and vital reasons why we should venture to Mars," says Zubrin. "It is the key to unlocking the secret of life in the universe. It is the challenge to adventure that will inspire millions of young people to enter science and engineering, and whose acceptance will reaffirm the nature of our society as a nation of pioneers. It is the door to an open future, a new frontier on a new world, a planet that can be settled and the beginning of humanity's career as a spacefaring species."
Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
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SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.
- SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
- Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
- Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
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