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.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Saying no is hard. These communication tips make it easy.

You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.

Videos
  • Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
  • Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
  • If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
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Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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