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."
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"