posted on Sep, 28 2016 @ 02:31 AM
a reply to: AnkhMorpork
My thinking is as follows.
Mars must be landed, it must be inhabited, sooner rather than later. However, we must never send a mission to anywhere that we could not send a rapid
rescue mission to. This DOES require that we build propulsion methods which reduce the minimum transit time from six months to a couple of weeks at
most. Doing this would be cost effective for the following reason. A propulsion drive which can throw a ship to Mars in a couple of weeks, could
attain orbit of other planets and moons in a much more orderly and prompt fashion than is currently possible, meaning that such a drive would not be a
white elephant, good for Mars and for nothing else, but a useful, versatile mission platform that could be used to expand our ability to explore well
beyond our current capabilities.
We should also think about making Mars, and not our Moon, the jumping off point to the rest of the solar system, and Pluto and its neighbour the
jumping off point from the solar system to the rest of space, when even more advanced propulsion takes off in a few hundred years.
Laying the ground work now, getting that advanced propulsion off the blackboard and onto a mission vehicle, is CRITICAL. The urgency of Zubrin is
absolutely founded in good sense, but it needs to be tempered with the practicality and patience necessary to see whatever mission comes of it, have
uses as a test bed as much as anything else. We need to start using tomorrow's technology today, so that we can bring the future to our doorsteps.