The vision of the International Space Station1 has become a fiasco because of the needless vision that helped create it. It was literally a Star Trek-inspired capital sink, and manned Mars missions will be no better, because there's no scientific imperative for the project. If approved, it will be less a fantasy of exploration than just another massive pork barrel, and almost certainly stripped of any scientific value by the shortcuts built into the project to allow the expensive technological challenges to actually be met. Let's concentrate on what we can do now and leave the vision for a time and technology that can handle it. Otherwise, we'll just continue to stagger from fiasco to fiasco.
1. R. Wassersug, "Finish the space station, head for Mars," The Scientist, 16:60, Feb. 4, 2002.
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!