Mars and its moon Phobos
In Washington, took place one of the most important summits of the last years. For two days we talk about politics and talk about science, but mostly we talk about exploration, robotics and human interplanetary space. Everything happens because NASA does understand that, finally, we have to return to think big. And then they all came: several ministers, dozens of heads of national space agencies, and then the people of the International Astronautically Academy and, of course, in COSPAR, the world Committee for Space Research.
Robotic exploration, one made with more or less sophisticated probes to objects in the solar system. For example, this year we expect a big scientific result from the Rosetta mission and its very close encounter with a comet, close enough to touch and taste it. India, for its part, has no hope of putting a probe in Martian orbit, a difficult task, which rarely happens on the first try. In recent decades, this new “astronomy program” has enabled us to understand the mysteries of the solar system over the whole of astronomy made by Galileo to today.
And to think big, to human exploration in space, means to go to Mars. In the meantime, however, we have learned a lot from the ISS. And the largest research project ever made by mankind and the most important thing that he taught us is that thanks to the collaboration of 15 international space agencies (NASA, ESA, and those of Russia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Italy, etc.) in 20 years we have had great success in a project of $ 200 billion. A step ahead to Apollo, a project that cost half (or maybe more) and supported strictly by a single nation.
The COSPAR, which has more than 45 member countries, launched the challenge: let’s really go all together this time. Let’s play, I mean, even China and India, the great absent of the ISS, and then think of a project ten times larger. With two trillion over 20 years, we are sure to go (and back) from Mars, and to do so, to invent a lot of technology for decades to improve the quality of life for all. It looks like so much money, two trillion, but it’s the equivalent to ask for $ 100 per year for 20 years at the billion richest people on Earth. Or, perhaps better, to cut military spending of a few percent of the planet, which are 1.7 trillion a year.
It therefore shows that it is not a question of money. It requires instead the courage to recognize that the challenge of human exploration in space is the one that will open the future, mental, technological and economic. We already know how to do it: a spaceport near the Moon for assembling spaceships nuclear training mission at some nearby asteroids, and then off. NASA this time seems to believe, perhaps inspired by the words of Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon: “In 1903 the Wright brothers gave the sky, 66 years later we were on the moon and 66 years after the Moon, in 2035, we will be on Mars.”