Honor Neil Armstrong: Let Us Begin a Manned Mars Mission ‘Now’ (Le Temps, Switzerland)
With the death of Neil Armstrong, is it time for humanity to set its sights upward to a manned mission to Mars – a goal that is not only challenging, but that will fire the imaginations of people around the world? For Switzerland’s Le Temps, Pierre Brisson, president of Mars Society Switzerland, writes that the world needs a new John F. Kennedy, bold enough to assert a deadline and a destination: Mars.
For Le Temps, Pierre Brisson writes in part:
Whenever the subject [of robotic versus manned space flight] is discussed, the question that naturally comes to the fore is “People: what do we need them for?”
Unfortunately, the only response is that governments are no longer interested in manned missions unless they maintain employment, or even worse, to simply continue what has been started. The fire is out – there is no enthusiasm left among those in charge of leading these missions “out there.” Rather, there is great wariness of failure – great fear that another catastrophe might occur, and great hesitation about investing in programs that aren’t “social” programs.
And yet, children and adults who are passionate about space, adventure, and science in general, continue to dream. These are the huge waves that lift up humanity and spur the most promising progress and well-being for all.
What we need is a new John Kennedy who can rekindle the flame and put space policy back on track by fixing a destination and a deadline. That destination can only be Mars, because we’ve had enough of the ISS. As far as the Moon, “we’ve already been there,” as President Obama said. Mars is Earth’s sister: In its early years, Mars experienced the same geological history as Earth, and her rocks bear evidence of a bygone era on our planet. Mars can resolve long-unanswered questions about the universality of the process of life. The deadline must be “before this decade is out,” as Kennedy said, well-aware that fixing a date signified more than a mere expression of intent.
READ ON IN ENGLISH OR FRENCH AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.