So if we do some finance math: A bank will give you .01% in your savings account but charge 15% on your credit card. This means it would take 1,398 years of compounding interest in your savings account to repay just ONE year’s worth of credit card charges. Let that sink in for you.
We are still a couple of years away from actually flying to mars. If we look at previous missions that have flown over to our neighboring planet, only 50% of them have indeed succeeded. 25 out of 49 missions have failed. Either they have overshot, undershot, or straight-up crash-landed on the martian soil. Getting to Mars is hard.
The fear of death has never worried me. I’ve been close to death almost three times now. I stared at it in the face and somehow managed to return. Death is inevitable, fear is wisdom in the face of danger, and this journey is not for the weak-hearted. As I’ve said before, the first ones through the wall usually get bloodied. So I really wouldn’t be surprised if the job posting for ASCAN’s for mars is somewhat similar to what Shackleton posted while going to Antarctica.
We have a short window of time to start the journey to mars which comes every 26 months. And still, it’s a 34 million miles distance. But the actual distance is more significant because it’s not a straight line but a curved trip. After all, both planets are moving relative to each other. So hoping that there would be absolutely no casualties during the journey would be false to assume.
The few who have known me for a while always ask me why space flight/exploration is essential or why risk the lives of astronauts for the sake of exploration?
I think the rigid few who believe that this work doesn’t do any good; it’s hard to convince them until they go up in space at a high altitude point and observe the atmosphere. Where you’re down here on earth, and you look up, you don’t feel much or think about it at all. But when you go up to a height and see things from above from a different vantage point, it changes your perspective towards how things are and how small we are in the larger scheme of things. Space exploration is not exploration for the sake of exploration, to begin with. It allows us to see something that we should’ve seen a long time ago but haven’t been able to until now due to lacking technological advancements?
We always look up in the sky and wonder about our place in the stars. We should continue to build upon that. The mindset that we could step on the moon will be the stepping point to get to mars after the Artemis missions take off on their feet.
A big part of me always thinks that we can still save our planet – this is purely a scientist/engineer/researcher, in me speaking, that there is always a way irrespective of what may happen or what might be the case. But at the same time, we should prepare for a plan B – that is, to leave it. The hardest part is gravity. We honestly still don’t understand gravity on a granular level. We understand how it operates or what it does but not enough to stop its forces from acting on us. We solve that, and we would make a dent in our understanding of physics and science in general.
In the movie Interstellar, Christopher Nolan also happened to publish papers on the research and findings for depicting a black hole. – (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0264-9381/32/6/065001/pdf) discusses the era where we have reached a point where the only way for the survival of the human race is to leave planet earth. The team at NASA sends people in space looking for a new home. “Lazarus missions.” Lazarus came back from the dead, but he sure had to die in the first place.
All that said, we are possibly living in the most exciting time to be alive. So to mars and the other candidates dreaming, training, and aimlessly putting their blood, sweat, and tears into qualifying for ASCAN, I ask this – If not now, when?