reply to post by FX44rice
FX, I'll answer that one, if I may.
Mars is way orders of magnitude more diffcult than the Moon, given our current technology.
We're looking at a 6 to 9-month journey, each way. Compared to 3 days each way, to the Moon. So, the seven or eight days that the Astronauts spent
outside the earth's protective magnetosphere was a tolerable dose of radiation. Six months will require some sort of protection better than was used
Then, there is the question of consumables. Because of the orbital periods of Earth and Mars we're looking at a total mission time frame of up to
two YEARS!!! (Because, after the 6-9 month journey, and a successful landing, there is a wait for a window of opportunity to return to Earth).
Also, while on the planet Mars, again there is the Solar radiation (and background cosmic radiation) danger. Mars does not have an appreciably large
magnetic field. He is a dead world.
On the plus side, the rotational period of Mars is just over 25 hours (called a 'Sol') and its orbital period is close to two Earth years...so, THAT
aspect would be somewhat familiar, at least.
A manned mission to Mars would require advance planning, in my opinion. Robotic launches of supplies and material would have to be sent ahead. These
items could either be directed to a stable orbit to await the Humans, or (riskier) landed on the surface to later be used after the Humans landed.
Also, consider the time delay for communications from Earth to Mars. I need to look it up, but depending on where we are in our orbits it could be up
to 18 light-minutes each way. (AND, there would be a complete black-out period when we are on opposite sides of the Sun).
Now we also have to consider the effects of prolonged micro-gravity on the Human body. Much study has been undertaken, on the ISS for example.
Resistance training is thought to help with muscle mass degeneration and bone loss. But, a 6-9 month voyage? Without the technology for
'artificial' gravity, then an alternative would be a rotating living environment, using the centripetal force to simulate a gravity field.
All of these challenges are leaps and bounds ahead of what we 'know' already. The six decades of advancement in Aviation from the Wright Brothers
onward is just not a valid comparison.
Now, having written all of the above, it would seem most logical to use these concepts to form a permanent base on the Moon first. Those same
techniques could be used, i.e., launch robotic craft with supplies, to Lunar orbit, then follow with Humans to utilize the equipment to begin to
construct a base. Also, in order to mount a future Mars mission, it would make more sense to use the Moon as your base, since its gravity well is
much smaller than Earth's...less fuel for initial launch. (Speaking of fuel, we run up against the long amount of time required for the journey to
Mars. HOW do we take enough fuel???).
Obviously, unless we develop some "Star Trek" -like technology, going to Mars is going to be quite difficult, and VERY expensive...not just in
'money', but in time as well.
To paraphrase the great Science Fiction writer Robert Heinlein, "Space is a Harsh Mistress"!
edit = misspelled 'Heinlein' BAD science-fiction fan!!!
[edit on 5/6/0909 by weedwhacker]