Posted by: grokscience | January 28, 2009

Mars Exploration

dr_robert_zubrinMars has garnered attention for generations, but the possible colonization of Mars especially tantalizes the imagination. On this program, Dr. Robert Zubrin discussed the possibilities for colonizing Mars.

Let’s all just live under the sea… 😉




  1. Long-time listener, first-time commenter. Great show.

    I think Dr. Zubrin’s perspective is a perfect example of how one can have technical expertise and lack wisdom and a broader perspective. More than anything, I’m offended by the cavalier manner in which he dismisses the urgent needs and issues on Earth in favor of what is essentially a giant nerd masturbation fantasy. And his comments about the “purchasing” of Manhattan and our “emergence” from Africa smacks of Western imperial prejudices.

    Part of his argument is as old as it fatuous. That is, a concerted effort to explore Mars produces spill-over technologies that benefit the public at large. The same argument is made about landing on the moon and the military. This argument would impose the trickle-down-economics paradigm on public investment. The argument completely overlooks the fact that the public benefit is much, much greater when the investment is in a program that actually serves the public. So instead of investing national treasure in flinging a few people across the solar system or the next multi-million-dollar smoldering hunk of metal in Iraq, we could be investing in clean, renewable energy, universal healthcare, and real, fully-funded public education. Such programs, which Dr. Zubrin dismissed as “people mopping up highways,” would exist with the stated purpose of benefiting everyone.

    How about instead of spending a fortune on creating a greenhouse effect on another planet we fix the greenhouse effect on this one? And under Dr. Zubrin’s best-case scenario, what percentage of the Earth’s population could emigrate to Mars? That answer is “a tiny, tiny percentage.” That’s relevant, because people like him (and both Presidents Bush who advocated for going to Mars) seem quite content to let this planet go to hell.

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