Ever since NASA first step foot on the moon in 1969, durring the iconic Apollo 11 mission, it was always thought that Mars would be the next logical step in space exploration. However following the end of the Apollo program, NASA has yet to return to the moon or send humans beyond low earth orbit.
Following the Apollo program was another iconic program, the Space Shuttle. The space shuttle was designed for reusability to make space travel cheaper and more routine. Unfortunately, this program turned out to cost significantly higher than expected and did not have the results needed.
After decades of different goals from different White House Administrations, NASA was struggling to have a specific goal since the announcement by President Kennedy to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Fortunately for NASA, the current White House Administration has made it clear that they want American Astronauts to return to lunar soil in less than five years from now, and to create a permanent settlement.
This sparks another question, is it worth revisiting the moon, or should we go straight to Mars? The moon may make sense, not necessarily for refueling purposes since SpaceX’s Starship rocket will be able to refuel in low earth orbit, then refuel on Mars with its new Raptor Engines, but may be a great way for us to create a civilization on another world and still have the ability to be there in a few days / weeks if supplies or medical attention is needed. On Mars, this simply would not be possible, as far away the moon is, Mars is significantly further away. The Moon may be another great way for humans to test different methods of living on a different terrestrial body that may make the journey to mars safer and more realistic. Another argument is that getting to the moon is a lot cheaper than getting to mars, so it may be smart to go there first. Finally, I think going to the moon would spark new interest in space travel, similar to how Elon Musk has impacted the world, and may make it more practical to secure funds for future Mars missions.
On the other hand, many argue that Mars should be the next step since we have already been to the moon. Elon Musk’s biggest goal is to create a permanent city on mars with over 1 million people. This was the main reason as to why he founded SpaceX. While NASA plans on going to the red planet some time in the 2030s, SpaceX is still standing by their aggressive timeline to send cargo to Mars in 2022 and people in 2024, (the same year they may be sending astronauts to the moon).
What do you think NASA should do? Return to the moon or go to Mars? Vote now in our Raging Patriot poll below, then leave a comment in our comment section!
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