NASA CHIEF DOESN’T BELIEVE AMERICA HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO REACH MARS BY ITSELF
August 3 2012
Washington, D.C. – One day, perhaps one day fairly soon, a human being will step foot on Mars. For decades the assumption was that person would be an American. After all, with the success the United States has had in space exploration and only Americans setting foot on a body off Earth it makes sense to assume that.
According to the head of NASA, however, that may not be the case. In fact, faced with growing completion from abroad and budget cuts at home, it could well be that when humans finally do get to the red planet that the first step on it could be someone from a different country.
When that mission does happen, hopefully sometime in the 2030’s, NASA hopes to have paired with space agencies from around the world, partnering in what will undoubtedly be the greatest expedition we have yet undertaken as a planet, not as a nation, largely because NASA just doesn’t have the juice to do those kinds of things anymore and have stopped trying.
“I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own. The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation in space exploration,” said NASA chief Charles Bolden.
It’s not clear who the partners for such a mission will be, nor whether or space agencies would want to cooperate with the United States and be forced to share the glory.
China in particular has made very aggressive moves towards space in recent years which would indicate that they might have ambitions of their own on Mars.
“I think that getting to Mars would be one of the great achievements in human history and it makes sense in so many ways that it would be shared by all the nations of the Earth. I mean not literally all the nations, figuratively. That would be a lot of people even if you just chose one person from each country,” said Scrape TV Science analyst Dr. Howard Poe. “That would be an impractical trip and be way too crowded. Anyways, the idea is that everyone from Earth shares in the expedition and from there we start a whole new way of interacting with one another. It’s a great idea especially if you have no money like NASA. I’m sure it’s a great idea for them.”
It’s believed that by the 2030’s NASA will have next to no money and China will have a whole bunch.
“The Russians, the Europeans, they have clearly failed to do much in space. India perhaps but it is really China we are talking about here. That would certainly be an interesting partnership but you really do have to wonder if they would be interested in partnering with the U.S. by that stage. Why would they want to share the glory,” continued Poe. “Doing something like that would limit their growth and their ambitions and provide the U.S. with all kinds of opportunity and very little work put into it. Also, it would be very difficult to conquer Mars with the Americans looking over their shoulders the whole time. That would just result in a lot of dead astronauts.”
China has never expressed a desire to take over Mars or kill astronauts but 2030 is a long ways away.
Anna Phillips, Science Correspondent