Thumbs Down for Mars


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English II


11 February 2004


There is no rationality backing the exploration and sought out manned missions to Mars with the economical and technological issues the United States faces at the present time. It is completely unrealistic for the U.S. to spend $700 billion of tax payers’ dollars to launch robots and humans 35 million miles away just to find out if the dead planet could have once conceived life forms billions of years ago. With all that is going on in the nation such as international and homeland warfare, healthcare concerns, education costs, and the federal deficit, just to mention a few, missions to Mars should be buried deep inside the pocket.


President George W. Bush and NASA proposed a budget of $700 billion over 10 years to generate, explore and research plans for gathering information that will do us no good other than to have scientific knowledge and feel awestruck. Exploring a planet which has no evidence of adequate life form, no water, no air, extreme radiation and temperatures averaging minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit, is cause for concern and attempts to do so should fall no short of abandonment. It is far too dangerous and seems to be nothing short of unattainable for any success ( “Space flights” par 4-7 ).


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Setting aside the basis of launching humans for a moment, what is the point of doing the job with space robotics? In the past 45 years, 22 out of 33 missions have crashed, broken, or failed before the research could be completed. For example, two space crafts, Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter, worth


over $320 million, were destroyed because of human error. Two separate groups of scientist and engineers simply forgot to convert feet into meters, causing the


first spacecraft to burn up in the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Secondly, NASA accidentally turning off the braking system two miles too soon which caused the orbiter to crash at 50 miles per hour ( “Space flights” par 3 ).


With complications arising from lift off through touchdown, there is no point to even consider sending humans to Mars? First, no human life is worth the sacrifice. At this point in time, the technology does not exist for astronauts to maintain sufficient fuel, food, water and air in good supply. Even if human landings on Mars become a success, the planet bears no resources. Set aside the fact that Mars is generally minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, the atmosphere which guards the surface from solar winds and space debris barely exists. The vast amount of radiation that exists on the planet would destroy a human in less than one month if exposed without the proper and vastly expensive gear. The radiation would eat away at every cell because proteins and DNA cannot survive under such conditions and cancer would consume the entire body.


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Next to that, Mars is magnetically dead. So the chance of surviving on Mars and even sustaining any sort of life form seems impractical (“Mission” 36-46).


Secondly, other than the obvious, launching robot spacecrafts must have even higher standards of management. Everything on the shuttles and so forth must have precise instructions and be preprogrammed. In concurrence with the 11


minute time delay, once orbiters come in near reach of Mars, radio signals pose close to no help. Since scientists cannot control the spacecrafts in real time, there is very little chance for recovery of any unexpected obstacles. No immediate time relay means no actual time sensor information. (“Mission” 36-46).


In conclusion, rather than wasting billions of dollars sending failure into space, take a cut of the budget, spend the money on homeland necessities and use the balance for more greater development and advanced research. Send a larger number of less expensive robots into space and learn from the information gathered. Then, if something is derived worthwhile, additional robots can be designed with particulars to discover without risking the lives of humans. It is almost like a domino effect. Send and receive, fix and send again. Even though the thought of indulging in Mars is enticing, there is still no rationality that the journeys make sense.