According to one of the astronauts on NASA's 1968 Apollo 8 mission, it would be "stupid" and "almost funny" to carry out a manned mission to Mars.
"What is the imperative?" "What convinces us to go to Mars?" I do not think the public will be interested, "said Bill Anders, who circled the Moon before returning to Earth 50 years ago, in the new documentary BBC Radio 5 Live.
Anders argued that there are many things that NASA could do is make better use of time and money, such as the casual InSight rover that has just landed to explore the interior of Mars.
The comments of one of the most eminent explorers of the cosmos in the history of mankind illustrate the deep and public philosophical dispute over whether the future of spaceflight will be characterized by splattering manned or cheaper automatic missions.
The core of Anders's argument about the BBC comes down to his perception that NASA drives the vicious circle of highly publicized missions that strengthen his image, improve funding and attract the greatest talent, so that they can start more publicized missions.
Sending an astronaut to Mars would dominate the information cycle, but it would not push the boundaries of practical scientific knowledge, Anders argued – essentially a mismatch between the priorities of NASA and society.
This skepticism puts Anders in the ranks of other high-profile critics of NASA, SpaceX Elon Musk and Blue Origin Jeff Bezos – all three put on the Red Planet.
For example, scientific informer and attorney Bill Nye predicted last year that no layman would want to get Mars. Nye also doubled last month to say that anyone who plans to terraform Mars must have a lot of medication.
However, his own colleague from Apollo 8, Frank Borman, disagreed, claiming in the document that exploration of the crew is important.
"I'm not so critical of NASA as Bill," said Borman BBC. "I strongly believe that we need a solid exploration of our Solar System and I think that this is part of it."
However, even Borman sets the boundary between exploration and settlement.
"I think there is a lot of hype about Mars, which is nonsense," Borman said. "Musk and Bezos, they talk about placing a colony on Mars." This is nonsense.
The article was originally published by Futurism. read original.