Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mars rising, and the moon on the wane

Its been a good few months before we reminded the world just what a waste of money NASA's human spaceflight programme is and how there are better ways to explore.

Mars rising?

Jan 22nd 2009

Why NASA should give up its ambitions to send men into space

AS LONG as people have looked up at the night sky, they have wondered whether humanity is alone in the universe. Of places close enough for people to visit, Mars is the only one that anybody seriously thinks might support life. The recent confirmation of a five-year-old finding that there is methane in the Martian atmosphere has therefore excited the hopes of exobiologists—particularly as the sources of three large plumes of the gas now seem to have been located. These sources are probably geological but they might, just, prove to be biological.

The possibility of life on Mars is too thrilling for mankind to ignore. But how should we explore such questions—with men, or machines? Since America is the biggest spender in space, its approach will heavily influence the world’s. George Bush’s administration strongly supported manned exploration, but the new administration is likely to have different priorities—and so it should. ... (More)