« It’s a mythical quest, it’s a spiritual quest, it’s a quest for what our place is in the universe
By the year 2020, the first astronauts could be blasting off for mars. They will be embarking on an epic voyage. This is their story.
For the first time, human beings will sever their ties with earth to confront the vast scale of the solar system. A tiny outburst of life going far beyond all other explorers.
« The Apollo missions, it was a couple of days out, spend a few days on the surface, did some experiments, geology, but a mars mission is a long duration prospect. »
It is not going to be a sightseeing tour. I think a large part of the journey is just going to be something folks have to get through to reach their goal.
I think when someone sees the planet earth, about the size of Venus, they’re gonna say that they may never return to that planet.
It’s like voluntary death in a way because you say goodbye to family and friends and humanity, you say goodbye to the entire thing , even though you’re faking up a life, a new life out there.
People have dreamt of flying to Mars for hundreds of years, but now, there are detailed plans.
The current Mars scenario that Nasa has on the plans, I think it’s a great one, it’s ambitious, it’s long-lasting, it’s really gutsy. It sends you in a period of six months on the surface of Mars, and then you stay there until Mars has gone round the sun again, and then you are back into place to do a launch back to earth. So you end up being on the Martian surface like 500 days. And this is an extraordinary stay. It means you have to go to Mars prepared to live there and survive.
Celestial mechanics will limit the crew’s options for how long to stay on Mars. Because it orbits the sun out of step with the earth, Mars only comes within our range every eighteen months. So the crew will have to make a flying visit of a few weeks for the kind of long stay the Americans are planning.
We took the point of view that we would do everything we could to make the surface of Mars the next safest place to be in the solar system other than earth.
Robot factories will be sent on ahead to manufacture air and water from the thin Martian atmosphere and all the fuel needed to get home.
The space ship taking the crew will almost certainly be too large to launch in one go from earth. So it will be assembled in orbit, but it’s just a one-way ticket , the return vehicle will await them on Mars.
When we land the crew, they’ll basically have to land in the general vicinity of these things that we have pre-deployed to get them home . If they land too far away and can’t get to them, we’re in real trouble.