"OSIRIS Mars true color" by ESA / CC BY-SA 3.0

Apollo Astronaut Says It Would Be ‘Stupid’ to Send People to Mars

Dec 27, 2018

By Dan Robitzski

According to one of the astronauts aboard NASA’s 1968 Apollo 8 mission, it would be “stupid” and “almost ridiculous” to pursue a crewed mission to Mars.

“What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars? I don’t think the public is that interested,” said Bill Anders, who orbited the Moon before returning to Earth 50 years ago, in a new documentary by BBC Radio 5 Live.

Anders argued that there are plenty of things NASA could be doing that would be a better use of time and money, like the uncrewed InSight rover that recently touched down to study Mars’ interior.

The comments, by one of the most accomplished space explorers in human history, illustrates a deep and public philosophical rift about whether the future of spaceflight will be characterized by splashy crewed missions or less expensive automated ones.

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One comment on “Apollo Astronaut Says It Would Be ‘Stupid’ to Send People to Mars”

  • I am honestly not against NASA landing astronauts on the surface of the red guy, but I think it would be more an iconic moment than a really important mission under the scientific point of view. So, yes, I would tend to agree with Anders. I mean, we do need real justifications to send men there. Even to test whether it’s possible to set up a colony of people should be preceded by careful and numerous automated missions. All of this, of course, if we really want to consider Mars as a possible colony in the future. Otherwise, I see this all affair as just an iconic enterprise…

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