Many in the realm of space exploration believe a manned mission to Mars is possible within the next twenty to thirty years. One issue is that currently it will not be feasible to carry the extra fuel to make a return trip back to Earth. Therefore volunteers for such a mission are faced with the stark reality of never coming home again. Would you consider participating in such a mission and be one of the very first humans to visit and colonize another planet? There would be serious challenges facing those who went: extremely tight living quarters, the psychological consequences of being in such close proximity with others 24/7 til you die, very infrequent bathing (maybe once a year), a lackluster diet of "space" food and what little that could be eventually grown, always having to wear a suit when outside the confines of the living quarters. It sounds like a tremendous sacrifice when you realize you would never again experience the company of family and friends. But on the other hand the ability to do what no other humans have ever experienced would be alluring.
A costly suicide, at taxpayer expense.
Why so negative?
And, who is to say taxpayers would be footing the bill? Space exploration is starting to be taken over by private firms (ie SpaceX and others) who have proven that it is less costly than NASA.
Space exploration is starting to be taken over by private firms...
I'm ok with that. Meanwhile, as a citizen, I'll vote for spending money instead on science that is more likely to enhance our lives on this planet, because there are so many other, big problems to solve. Someday, after solving enough of our earthly problems, we should be better able to afford more fanciful excursions.
Most of the technologies that make our lives easier and more enjoyable today were first developed by NASA: Velcro, Microwaves, cell phones, all sorts of things. Also the mission to Mars was the cost of one or two Stealth Bombers, which we are also paying for by the boat load. I recommend reexamining and redirecting your economic disdain for NASA.
I like NASA! I just think it's a stretch to say those inventions you mention couldn't have been invented for other, earthly projects. I'm sure NASA helped the solar cell industry grow too, but why not develop solar for earthly uses, first?
War economies stimulate growth, too. And World War II pushed ahead medical advances. That doesn't make them the best methods for achieving such results. (BTW, microwave tech started before and then grew in WWII also, long before NASA.)
I just think it's a stretch to say those inventions you mention couldn't have been invented for other, earthly projects. I'm sure NASA helped the solar cell industry grow too, but why not develop solar for earthly uses, first?
Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Things tend to happen the best way, which is the path of least resistance.
I did neglect to mention that I think the money we're spending on robotic rather than human space exploration is well spent. It's just that when we add human space travel into the mission, costs skyrocket, taking money and resources away from other more effective research and development.
If we're wise enough as a species, the day will eventually come when exotic space travel will be easier and more affordable. I think that rushing it is counter-productive.
My answer to that is a resounding no. The biggest reason is because I'm very introverted and need loads of alone time to recover from day to day interactions at work. The idea that I can't escape from the people around me would kill me before I even got to Mars. (or maybe I'd go mad and kill them either way the mission wouldn't last long with me on board.)