NASA, Mars One, or SpaceX: Who Has the Best Chance of Getting to Mars?

Who has the best chance of success for reaching Mars by 2030? Government-funded programs or private organizations?

NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce wants to give people a dose of reality when it comes to the Mars mission. The finalists in the Mars One pool have been whittled down to 100 colonist hopefuls, but Mary Lynne Dittmar, an aerospace consultant, says:


"The distances that are involved and the complexities that are involved in going and staying there are really enormous."

In Dittmar's interview with NPR, she lists all the cards stacked against the Mars mission, like supplying enough oxygen and food, landing on a planet with such a thin atmosphere, coping with the cancerous radiation and dust, and so on. But Bas Lansdorp, Mars One's CEO, isn't planning for launch tomorrow. The group's mission date falls on the year 2025, just five years ahead of NASA's own stated goal to get a colony on Mars.

When it comes to the most likely to succeed, Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer who heads the Mars Society, isn't placing his bets on NASA or Mars One, but SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, shows the most promise.

"He developed spacecraft for one-tenth the cost and one-third the time that NASA and the aerospace major companies have done."

So far, Musk has the proof, where Mars One has only marketing, and the funds, where NASA has been prone to government budget cuts. He's said he expects SpaceX to be Mars-ready in 10 to 20 years — a timeline that seems to mirror NASA's own expectations of when we'll get to the Red Planet. Only time will tell.

For Neil deGrasse Tyson, there's a lot of delusional thinking when it comes to commercial space flight. Using history to draw his conclusions, Tyson doesn't see a privatized flight being first — there's too much risk and no reward.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Why Elon Musk doesn't like Jeff Bezos's space colonies

Elon Musk took issue with recent ideas for space exploration from Jeff Bezos.

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Technology & Innovation
  • Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have sparred over space exploration previously.
  • Musk wants to focus on Mars while Bezos has the moon and space colonies as goals.
  • In a recent tweet, Musk called out Bezos's plans for space colonies as unrealistic.
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10 new things we’ve learned about death

If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.

Culture & Religion
  • For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
  • Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
  • Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
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Big Think Edge
  • Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.