Mars is not a Plan B

September 28, 2016 4:06 PM

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Over at Speaking of Science I have posted a few thoughts on Elon Musk and his plan to colonize Mars. Shorter version: Putting even one person on Mars, never mind a million people, is going to be very hard. There is no single technological show-stopper. But the risks are cumulative, the costs are incalculable, things go wrong, and any timeline that imagines humans on Mars in the next decade is magical thinking. Ask Loren Grush at The Verge: She runs through the whole list of challenges.

No one’s trying to dash anyone’s dreams here, but colonizing Mars isn’t simply a matter of rocket science. Musk and his colleagues have gotten good at rocket science (notwithstanding a couple of major failures in the past 15 months), but the biological part of a Mars mission is what’s so tricky: kee...

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