Why NASA Should Abandon a Manned Mission to Mars

Brent Sherwood of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wants the agency to take a hard look at its plans to send humans to Mars, perhaps concentrating on colonizing the Moon instead. 

What's the Latest Development?

With NASA's latest and most powerful rover, Curiosity, now safely on the surface of Mars, Brent Sherwood of the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says a manned mission to the Red Planet is not worth the costs. "Sherwood thinks the agency should re-examine its human spaceflight program, because pushing for the Red Planet in the next three decades or so may not constitute the best use of NASA's limited resources." Costs of a manned Mars mission are estimated to run about $100 billion and it is questionable whether humans could perform scientific experiments of greater value than the ones Curiosity plans to carry out.

What's the Big Idea?

Sherwood proposes several convincing alternatives to sinking NASA's budget into a manned flight to Mars. One is colonizing the moon, which could extend the reach of our species beyond Earth and teach us how to use space-based resources. "Sherwood said a focus on lunar settlement could conceivably result in 100 or so people living on Earth's nearest neighbor by 2050." Another option for NASA is to encourage civilian space travel, which could mean thousands of people visiting orbital hotels by mid-century. Finally, Sherwood advocates making space-based solar power a reality, helping to secure "a clean-energy future for the planet and give our species a foothold in Earth orbit."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less