Space Experts Say Sending Humans to Mars Worth the Risk
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Mars Humans
It's a harder problem politically than technically.
Any mission to Mars has to support astronauts for roughly 500 to 1,000 days. The mission has to deal with round-trip communication delays of up to 42 minutes. It will need the ability to land roughly 40-ton payloads on the surface of Mars (current robotic missions drop about a ton). Living off the land is also key, making use of local water and minerals. And astronauts need the ability to not just survive, but drive around and explore. “We want to land in a safe place, which is going to be geologically boring, but we want to go to exciting locations,” said Drake.
The technical and logistical challenges might be the easiest part. “We do know enough to pull this off,” Ramirez says. “The biggest problem is political will.” Congress has yet to sign off on funding this adventure (nor has NASA presented a budget — expected to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars), and future administrations could decide to kill it.