should humans go?

This Mars Daily article tries my patience on many levels, but one quote stands out:

Cosmic radiation, weightlessness, psychological stress — no one knows what it will feel like to watch one’s home planet dwindle into invisibility — all pose serious challenges to any future Mars mission.

I refuse to believe that humans have actually softened to this extreme. No one other than surviving Apollo astronauts who paid brief visits to the dark side of the Moon knows what it feels like to watch the Earth “vanish”. But how does this pose a “serious challenge to any future Mars mission”?

Allow me to throw out the following list of other Earth-bound “feelings” that “no [living human] knows”:

  • massive asteroid impact
  • ice age
  • nuclear winter
  • pandemic
  • change in the solar habitable zone (from a human survivability perspective) because of an unexpected acceleration in the solar life cycle
  • direct hit from a gamma ray burst
  • (insert your favorite late-night Discovery Channel global disaster prediction here)

All of these risks would be best mitigated by eliminating the single point of failure problem. We all live here. Kinda-sorta (exactly) like the dinosaurs did 65 million years ago. So speak for yourselves, Mars Daily Staff Writers. My “psychological stress” comes from our not going.

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