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Mankind Beyond EarthThe History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration$
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Claude Piantadosi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162432

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162432.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

The Case for Mars

The Case for Mars

(p.203) 11. The Case for Mars
Mankind Beyond Earth

Claude A. Piantadosi

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the case for a mission to Mars. It argues that the initial exploration of Mars will require faster transportation, effective shielding and radiation countermeasures, experienced crew selection, a carefully chosen landing site, and sound surface and subsurface technologies. The use of localized magnetic hot spots on the planet could provide significant shelter from cosmic radiation and would be especially important for the selection of a site for a permanent Mars base. Solving these problems by the end of the century might increase the time humans could spend safely on Mars to as much as a decade. The chapter also stresses three key ideas about Mars. First, time and distance make any Mars mission dangerous, and even a modest risk of failure is unacceptable because it would expose the entire manned space program to being mothballed. Second, paring risks down requires time, money, and experience. Finally, a successful first mission and important discoveries made will govern the level of interest in returning to Mars. Mars is not a conquest, and a sound scientific agenda is essential.

Keywords:   human space exploration, Mars, Moon, space missions, cosmic radiation

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