I’d like to call your attention to a really interesting piece in the by Harley Thronson submitted to the Human Spaceflight Study Group at the National Academies. Entitled “If You Set Out to Go to Mars, Go to Mars.” Its thesis is simple: the culture of the human spaceflight communities is hospitable to scenarios, architectures, and technologies that are unambiguously unaffordable and/or infeasible. Thronson sees this as a distraction from the hard decisions necessary for post-ISS human space exploration. He also points out that the popular architecture of industrialization of the lunar surface to support subsequent human solar system expansion, “Moon first, then Mars,” reverses the historical experience of human exploration of the Earth. Send the small group of pioneers and explorers first and only later build the expensive infrastructure to support development. That is, “Mars first, then the Moon.”
It’s an interesting take on the issue. What do you think?