An Open Letter to President Obama: Abandon the Manned Mission to Mars

Subject: An Open Letter to President Obama: Abandon the Manned Mission to Mars
From: Simon Wise
Date: 12 Dec 2012

Dear Mr President
Your Space Agency, NASA, have announced that they plan to put man on Mars by 2037. That is some 80 years after the first space escapade; the successful launch of Sputnik 1 by the then U.S.S.R. The main thrust of the plan is to begin to build extend our “civilisation” onto other planets. Oh yes, and to see if there is or was any life on Mars.

Since the landing on the Moon in 1969 many trillions of dollars have been spent on space travel and subsequent expeditions to the moon. What has been the result? Apart from a damaging “space race” between the then two greatest worlds super powers that could have spilt over into nuclear Armageddon, what else was achieved? The invention of Teflon non-stick coating for saucepans, and Velcro hook and eye fastening are two. Oh and a lot of dead rock that has not given us any new atomic elements or a breakthrough in metal technology.

I’ll get to my two points, Mr President: Firstly, isn’t it much more likely that the money that will be spent on the man to Mars mission would be much better spent researching our own planet? The depths of the oceans? Renewable energy? Cold fusion? Looking for a breakthrough in physics, matter transfer, eliminating death from malaria and other treatable diseases in the third world? If we don’t do something about the polar caps melting and indeed our warlike tendencies, it’s quite likely that we’ll ruin the only Gaia (inhabitable for humans) planet within our reach- at least until a new form of space travel is invented.

Secondly while we are no doubt a great species at invention, new technologies and pushing the boundaries of our understanding of biology and physics, we are rubbish at human relationships. We cannot, for the life of us, get on with our fellow man. Wars, genocide, atrocities, starvation, and corruption continue to plague Governments, groups, religions, and individuals throughout the world.

Wouldn’t it be better to spend that money being put aside for a manned trip to Mars, to try to solve the problems we cause on earth, rather than spread the disease we call human nature, or civilisation, to another world?

Why would it be a good thing, Mr President, for us to abandon all the issues, problems, conflicts and misery on our existing planet, and spend time and money on setting our poisoned foot on another planet? Is space travel and the possibility of Martians supposed to be an opiate for the masses; to make them forget about the misery here on earth by looking up at the red dot in the sky and thinking “I could be there too”?

Please Mr President, use your influence to persuade scientists, investors and anthropologists to reach for a real discovery, worth much more than a footstep on another planet- a breakthrough in caring for this planet and all the peoples that live on it. Perhaps one day, when we have eliminated conflict, jealousy and hatred on the planet, and have managed to put earth back in balance so that it will last a good few more thousand years, that will be the time to cast our eyes skyward to Mars.