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Misdirection on Mars (Op-Ed)

5 May 2015, 05:46 UTC
Misdirection on Mars (Op-Ed)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

By Dr. Robert ZubrinSpaceNews.com, 05.04.15In the history of warfare, it has sometimes been the practice of armies to dress themselves in the uniforms of their adversaries and then commit atrocities in order to discredit the other side. Alternatively, such falsely uniformed war criminals have placed themselves among opposing forces, so that, posing as friends, they could misdirect them to their doom.It is in this tradition that O. Glenn Smith and Paul Spudis, two die-hard opponents of Mars exploration, recently chose to costume themselves as advocates in their Commentary “Mars for Only $1.5 Trillion” [March 9, page 19], which is designed to make a feasible enterprise appear utterly unfeasible.The mission plan claimed to be necessary by Smith and Spudis starts with the nonsensical idea that someone would use a monstrosity the size of the International Space Station for a disposable Mars mission transit vehicle, and continues with the conceit of saddling each and every Mars mission with the full development and several decades-long manufacturing, launch and on-orbit assembly program of the ISS. On the basis of this, they calculate that a “ballpark cost for the first human Mars mission in 2035 would total $230 billion” and “if we send nine crews ...

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