Mars vs. the Moon: Where Do You Want to Go?

Okay, fellow humans. Where should we go next? Should we return to the Moon or push onward to Mars?

Ap12 Mars vs the Moon

It would be nice if we could do both, but space exploration is expensive. So at least in the near future, we as a species will probably have to choose.

If you pay any attention to NASA’s public relations, you know the United States is aimed for Mars. Almost every new piece of NASA tech is billed as Mars-ready or Mars-capable. Almost every experiment, including Scott Kelly’s Year in Space mission, is somehow Mars related. NASA has produced tons of videos, posters, and infographics, and they’ve made #JourneytoMars a thing on Twitter.

But an actual Mars landing is still at least twenty years away. A lot could happen in twenty years, politically and economically speaking. Regarding the politics of space exploration, international partnerships play a key role. Big, expensive projects become a lot more feasible when costs are divvied up among multiple countries.

Right now, the European Space Agency (ESA) is mulling over the idea of establishing a permanent outpost on the Moon. This moon base, or “moon village” as it’s sometimes called, would be the successor to the International Space Station.

If ESA does get their moon village started, no doubt the Russians and the Japanese will want to be part of it. And so will the U.S. But where will that leave NASA’s #JourneytoMars ambitions?

Personally, I’d really like human beings to finally set foot on Mars, preferably in my lifetime. But ESA’s moon base proposal seems more achievable in the near-term. In a way, it does feel like a logical next step after the International Space Station. But that’s just my opinion.

So what do you think? Were do you, fellow humans, want to go next: back to the Moon or onward to Mars?

7 Responses to Mars vs. the Moon: Where Do You Want to Go?

  1. Loni Townsend says:

    It is a shame we can’t do both. I think a moon colony would be a cool advancement for the future of the human population. But then again, we have already been there, so it’s exciting to have the chance to explore Mars. I suppose if I had to choose, I would say Mars. Let my kids to the Moon colony.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      I do agree. Mars seems more exciting. Returning to the Moon just feels like the boring, pragmatic option. Which is a weird statement, if you think about it. Landing on the Moon has become “pragmatic.”

      Like

  2. Kirov says:

    Definitely leaning towards Mars. Your post only seems concerned with government entities driving exploration, but what about companies like SpaceX? Just a few minutes before I read this post, they tweeted their intention to send the first Red Dragon to Mars in 2018. Based on their ambitions, I feel like Mars colonization is within my lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      I’d have to read more about that, but my gut reaction is that two years doesn’t seem like enough time.

      Maybe I should give the private sector a bit more credit. Maybe private companies can do this all on their own or with minimal help from the government. SpaceX in particular has surprised me with how far they’ve come in only the last few years.

      So we’ll have to wait and see. If there is any way we can do both the Moon and Mars, I’m all for it.

      Like

  3. When I was younger, I would have said Mars, thinking, “Why waste time going somewhere we’ve already been?” But the logistics of a Mars trip shouldn’t be underestimated. Many people have a false sense of security and confidence by our success going to the Moon and by the ISS. But the moon is only three days away, and the ISS basically orbits just outside the atmosphere, not even outside of the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Before sending people on a mission where they’ll be isolated from the rest of humanity for years, I think we should have people live outside of Earth’s magnetic field for extended periods, perhaps in a station at one of the Lagrange points, without frequent supplies from Earth, and on the Moon in a colony at least as self sustaining as a Mars one would have to be.

    If we can’t do these things relatively close to Earth, within a few days of rescue or logistical support, it seems unwise to send people 50-400 million kilometers away, months or years away from any support.

    Liked by 1 person

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