El Espectador, Colombia
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Armstrong: Let Us Begin a Manned Mars Mission 'Now' (Le Temps, Switzerland)
and adults who are passionate about space, adventure, and science in general,
continue to dream. These are the huge waves that lift up humanity and spur the
most promising progress and well-being for all. ... What we need is a new John
Kennedy who can rekindle the flame and put space policy back on track by fixing
a destination and a deadline. That destination can only be Mars."
By Pierre Brisson
Translated by Kate Townsend
August 28, 2012
- Le Temps - Original Article (French)
The greatest tribute
we could bestow on Neil
Armstrong, who died last weekend, is to finally embark on a manned mission
to Mars, writes Pierre Brisson, president of Mars Society
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, he was already
43-years-old, and many people, surely including himself, believed that humanity
was embarking on a new adventure comparable to the “conquest” of America. Space
was considered “the final frontier.”
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Today, there is much disappointment among astronauts
and their peers who are motivated by the same pioneering spirit. Certainly,
robotic exploration has continued and the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory
has given us a stunning example of the technical mastery we have achieved. But
manned flight, brilliantly initiated by Armstrong and his companions under the leadership
of John Kennedy, has stagnated dismally on the nearby terrestrial suburb.
Space Station [ISS], in orbit since 1998 and
operating only 200 miles above our heads, is nothing to marvel at, and has contributed
little of note in terms of the acquisition of knowledge or technological
What really interests mankind are discoveries in deeper
space. This is evident when we consider how much attention photos capturing the
landing of the Curiosity
on Mars have drawn. And when the subject is discussed, the question that naturally
comes to the fore is “People: what do we need them for?”
Unfortunately, the only response is that governments are
no longer interested in manned missions unless they maintain employment, or
even worse, to simply continue what has been started. The fire is out - there
is no enthusiasm left among those in charge of leading these missions “out
there.” Rather, there is great wariness of failure - great fear that another
catastrophe might occur, and great hesitation about investing in programs that
aren't “social” programs.
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And yet, children and adults who are passionate about
space, adventure, and science in general, continue to dream. These are the huge
waves that lift up humanity and spur the most promising progress and well-being
What we need is a new John Kennedy who can rekindle the
flame and put space policy back on track by fixing a destination and a
deadline. That destination can only be Mars, because we’ve had enough of the ISS. As far as the Moon, “we’ve already been there,” as
President Obama said. Mars is Earth's sister: In its early years, Mars experienced
the same geological history as Earth, and her rocks bear evidence of a bygone
era on our planet. Mars can resolve long-unanswered questions about
the universality of the process of life. The deadline must be “before this
decade is out,” as Kennedy said, well-aware that fixing a date signified more
than a mere expression of intent.
Contrary to what many people believe, we have the
technology and we have the money. So, if we really want to honor the memory of
Neil Armstrong, let us follow his example. Let’s overcome the barrier of our
fears, our doubts, and our false propriety. Let’s go! Let us now undertake the
first manned mission to Mars!
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands: Travel To Moon and Stars is What Humanity Needs
The Straits Times, Malaysia: Beijing Calls Space Arms Race a 'Historic Inevitability'
El Mundo, Spain: The Iron Grip of the U.S. 'Nuclear-Space Industrial Complex'
Tribune de Geneve, Switzerland: The Moon and the Chinese; Mars and America
Novosti, Russia: With Shuttle Launch, America Risks Its Image - and Its Astronauts
Novosti, Russia: Another Visit to Mars; 'It's the Americans Again'
Nachrichten, Switzerland: Climate Change Solution: Shoot Cheney into Space
Korean Central News, North Korea: The United States Seeks 'Monopoly of Outer Space'
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