I am still very, very sceptical on whether it is possible or not. They have not even attempt a sample return mission.
With a rotation like craft, you can get there in reasonable shape but just think of the logistics of landing back here on Earth. No ground crew on Mars to welcome you. Maybe living / working habitats can be 3D printed before the time but that is science fiction for now. (3D printing can build a house here on Earth but only with lots of human help).

It is likely complete fantasy, and I have to wonder whether they believe it themselves. Anyway, I do not want humans anywhere near Mars until we are certain that there is no indigenous life there.

An interesting simulation they could do is this: see if they can set up an “Earth-independent” colony somewhere on Earth. Like, for example, Antarctica or the middle of the Sahara. I doubt whether that can be done with their current knowledge and technology. But they want to try it on Mars?

Not to mention the cost, which will be prohibitive, and divert even more funding away from unmanned exploration. We already have a damn white space elephant in earth orbit; we don’t need another on Mars.

Sometimes I think it’s quite cool to do things without any regard for cost, just to see what humans are capable of. As long as the Americans pay for it, of course.

Was it not Mandela who noted that it always seems impossible until it’s done? Then again, the number of space colonies designed by our former president can probably be counted on one hand. Perhaps he was referring to draughting constitutions.


An interesting simulation they could do is this: see if they can set up an "Earth-independent" colony somewhere on Earth.
They've tried it a few times, I think there is one going on right now. I know one experiment failed after a short time due to cabin fever. But an experiment can't be 100% independent. The participants will know that help is not 3 years away and I come back to the radiation problem.

But the scale on a venture like this… The Moon landings had the cold war as a driving force but this?

I came across this question on Quora. The first words send back to Earth from the Moon was the famous “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. What should be the first words from Mars? Not that I think we’ll do it anytime soon, but something profound should be said.

“Hey, checkkit out my bra, it looks like the Karoo!”

Or like the penguins in “Madagascar” after they finally reach Antarctica: “Well this sucks!”

It will depend on which nation plonks down first in the ochre dust.

Arabia: Ah, no place like home.

France: Voila!

Germany: Das is cool, ja?

US: Watcha gonna do when we come for you…

South Africa: Pay back the money.

I think SA would be: What the hell, how did this happen?

SA: Look at all these imperialist Martians!

Elon Musk says he is going to send 100 people at a time to Mars. Like PZ I remain sceptical.

I will believe it when I see it. I think these folks watched too much science fiction. :slight_smile:

Schiaparelli lands this afternoon.

Alas, latest news is they don’t know whether it survived. The Europeans don’t seem to have much luck with Mars missions.

Not only the Europeans. An astonishing number of Mars missions fail. The Martians will only allow one mission at a time–and then only those they approve of–the rest they destroy with their death rays.

Surely it can’t be too expensive to simply fit the probes with tinfoil hats?

;D. Maybe it got zapped by one of the rovers. Perhaps Curiosity killed the Schap. :o

I am rooting like crazy for the Mars project. The problems of establishing a human colony and keeping it alive can be overcome given current technology and the pace of advancement in the various necessary fields. The issue is making it cheap enough to get it there, which is not progressing fast enough for the given deadline.

I guess I am biased - Elon Musk is an utterly single-minded, even possessed, visionary. Just one example is his journey to overcome the problems with production of the economical Tesla model. He is pursuing an ecologically sane solution for our transport problems and tackling the issues step by step, on a scale that boggles my tiny mind.

I vote for this one:

"Hey, checkkit out my bra, it looks like the Karoo!"

The man has more brains than he can use. He is interesting to watch from a personality profile point of view, hubby thinks he’s bonkers but I think he is one of those ADHD labled kids, everything is possible and needs to be tried, he is just fortunate to have the money to pursue it…