Mars vs Man

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"Mars vs Man"
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Man vs. Mars. Against going:

Argument 1: It's too dangerous.

Oops . . . this should be in the OPPOSITE category. Dangerous stuff is positively catnip for humans. The whole cost of the expedition could be recapitalized as a reality show. Ten minutes of you-tube or cable television should convince anyone.

Argument 2: It's too expensive.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" cost $300,000,000.00. Check Wikipedia.

Argument 3: It's Unnecessary.

Review arguments 1 and 2 about what people consider important. However, with the polar ice cap melting into seawater, a foothold on another world might be an investment worth making.

Argument 4: The technology isn't ready.

Humans crossed the oceans from Japan to Australia, from Siberia to America, from Indonesia to South America, from Europe to North America - all before Columbus. We did it when we wanted to - not when we had the technology.

Argument 5: Humans aren't needed.

Uh oh, we might have a winner here. Robots deliver the firsthand impact of virtual reality better than humans. Anybody remember the tongue-tied pronouncements of busy US astronauts? Most of us had to hang on the fuzzy pictures and invent our own adjectives. You can visit Mars any morning you want with a cup of coffee at

. . . and still show up on time at the office.

In favor of going:

Argument 1: Manifest Destiny.

This argument long ago collapsed. Maybe human destiny is for humans to turn into . . . something else.

Argument 2: The Science.

Sorry Charlie, but after decades of watching glorified high-school science on the Space Station and the silly attempts to justify the Apollo program on the basis of science this argument no longer flies. Give me a pair of robot eyes on the surface of Venus, is the crevasses of Enceladus geysers, in the caves of Mars . . . places where no human will go for a century. That's science!

Argument 3: Spin Off

Tang. Google it.

Argument 4: Political Prestige

Hmmm. Maybe there is something there. Americans have gloated about being first on the moon for almost a half century. It was expensive up front - but we coasted on the achievement for a long time. Maybe we could do the same with Mars. Unless we lose to China, Russia, Japan, Korea or the EuroSpace agency. Failures can be expensive and have the opposite effect. We may no longer be the world's largest economy:

National prestige was not enhanced when our space shuttle burned up in the atmosphere . . . again. However, unique discoveries happen just once. What country will be the first to contact alien life, or discover another Earth?

Argument 5: Just Do it.

Game over. Give me a ticket and I'll go myself. Roasted in radiation, starved, poisoned or oxygen-deprived, give me a chance to stand at the bottom of the Noctos Labyrinthus and look at the sky, and I'd gamble my life. To let some Martian soil trickle through my fingers and listen to the thin lonesome wind blow whirlwinds through the desert, and watch the blue embers of Earth and moon in the Martian Sky. Yeah, it's worth it. Punch my ticket.

More about this author: James Davison

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