Thursday, October 23, 2008

I pause from the "usual" processor technology talk, to address another topic that's been a favorite interest of mine since grade school: space travel. Buzz Aldrin thinks that we should send the first explorers to Mars on a one-way trip to the red planet:

I can't completely agree with him. Much like the early plot of Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, the first explorers should return to Earth in order to be able to relate the experience to the world. Otherwise, I think the exploits of the Mars explorers will be too remote, too unreal, to the people who must fund supply missions. Only when we have the technology to make the "settlers" self sufficient, should we consider the one-way trip option.

What we should be investing in is better robotic AI ("Open the pod bay doors, Hal") and the underlying technology needed for colonization. Both these endeavors could have additional benefits here on Earth.

I hope I live long enough to see the pictures of Man on Mars. Just going there and not colonizing is a waste of money. Look at what happened when we went to the Moon - close to 40 years later and we haven't been back.

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