Is Mars the Next Outpost for Humanity?

by | Feb 21, 2022 |

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As cold as Antarctica is in winter, with sunlight two and a half times dimmer than on the Earth, bombarded with cancer-causing radiation and practically airless, surviving on Mars will take a special kind of person. Separated from the rest of humanity by nine months of mind-numbingly dull travel in a cramped metal spaceship, if space does not kill the crew, they may very well kill each other—it has been said that many of the ingredients for homicide would be present on a three-year-round trip to Mars. Who would ever want to go to such a dangerous, hostile and barren environment? 

Well, if the volunteers for the now-canceled Mars One project are any indication, many healthy, highly educated, sociable people would. The human drive to explore and expand into new environments is simply too strong. The thrill of establishing new civilizations is too exciting for all of our species to remain on our tiny planet. As Russian visionary and rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky said:

“The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever.”

In today’s program, Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris are joined by mathematician Donald E. Pauly, a space travel enthusiast who has followed Elon Musk’s work on electric vehicles and reusable rockets for several years. After a start in the Bergstrom Air Force Base aeroclub, Don was a USAF cryptographic repairman and achieved a Commercial Pilot rating (Airplane and Helicopter 1,500 hours). He has worked as a television broadcast engineer for eight years and holds two color television patents. His current work is in crystal oscillator and switching power supply design.  

Join Jay, Tom, and Don this week on The Other Side of the Story to hear about how a trip to Mars would be carried out and whether Elon Musk’s dream of sending people there in this decade is realistic, or even is something we would want to do.  

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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