[ExI] Manned Spaceflight (Was: future fizzle)

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Sun May 31 15:27:32 UTC 2009

"Stathis Papaioannou" <stathisp at gmail.com>

> If the goal is to put people on Mars, then unmanned missions,
> unless part > of the preparation, are by definition a failure.

If the final goal is to put somebody on Mars just so we can put somebody on
Mars and is not just part of a greater goal then it will lead nowhere. There
are only 4 general reasons to put people into space:

1) Military reasons
2) Commercial reasons
3) Scientific reasons
4) Entertainment reasons

Nowadays the first 3 can be accomplished much much cheaper and quicker with
unmanned vehicles, and the fourth reason is quite ephemeral. The first time
humans went into low earth orbit the world was enthralled, but we've been
doing it for nearly half a century now and it has turned into a colossal
bore. The first moon landing was a big hit, everybody loved it, but the
second time it felt like a repeat and viewers wrote the networks complaining
that the extended news coverage was interfering with their soap operas.
Interest picked up again for the third Apollo moon flight, but only because
it was a failure. I predict that the second successful Mars landing would be
greeted with a collective yawn and so would not meet any of the 4 reasons
listed above. So why do it?

 John K Clark

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