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Why Have We Not Sent Humans to Mars Yet?

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes | more than 3 years ago

Mars 3

MarkWhittington writes "One of the most vexing questions in the history of the space age is why have humans not gone to Mars yet. In 1969, when men first landed on the Moon, a follow on program to send people to Mars seemed all but inevitable.

A paper written by Robert D. Butts at Darmouth in 2003 suggests that there is a reason why no humans to Mars program happened in 1969, or has happened since. Succinctly put, while the political stars aligned in 1961 with a visionary president, Cold War fears of falling behind the Soviet Union, and a political consensus to use space as a peaceful battlefield to enhance American prestige that led to the Apollo landing program, quite a different alignment had occurred by 1969 to not only curtail Apollo but rule out any Mars program for the foreseeable future."

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huge unresolved technical issues. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300914)

We don't have a braking system for safely getting humans to the martian surface, parachutes won't work (early studies flawed). Bone and spine damage from weightlessness are a huge problem for 180 day each way trip. We lack vehicle with fuel capacity for round trip, and the Mars-for-Less approach makes use of untried methods to attempt to go around that, by either manufacturing fuel on Mars or multiple expensive launches. Cost would be huge compared to Apollo program.

Re:huge unresolved technical issues. (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302666)

Actually with today's "needs", a quite viable reason could simply be "There is no oil there."

Re:huge unresolved technical issues. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36331916)

there's always the the old "keep up with the evil bogeyman" tactic to get funding, maybe the Iranians or Venezuelans will announce a Mars space program.
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