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Why Mars?

By Jim Plaxco

The following article, originally titled "Making Mars Relevant," is taken from the March 1992 issue of Spacewatch and is based on a presentation given by the author at the 1992 Mid-Continent Space Development Conference and the 1992 Midwest Space Development Conference.

There are two ways for us to get to Mars. The first way is to reduce mission costs to such a degree that private enterprises could afford to undertake them. This is a job for the engineers. The second way is to increase the perceived value or economic return of missions to Mars making higher mission costs more acceptable. This is a job for the space activist community.

To most people, Mars is a distant cold planet with no bearing on our daily lives. This perception of Mars' worthlessness means that as long as mission costs remain high, funding for such missions is unlikely. To quote Seamans and Ordway, "Support for large-scale scientific and technical endeavors must involve a preponderance of the public. U.S. citizens must view the effort as worthy of their tax dollars if support is to last for extended periods." (1) In the same vein, Hans Mark and Harlan Smith write that "compelling scientific, technical, and cultural reasons to justify the initiative [SEI] must be set forth to keep it rolling past the term of the incumbent president." (2)

National opinion polls indicate a lack of real societal support for costly space exploration programs. A 1989 national Opinion Research Survey found that only 16 out of 100 people felt that funding for space programs should be increased. The results of a 1989 Gallup Opinion Poll to determine the public's perception of the value of the space program in general are contained in Table 1. The goal of another Gallup poll was to find out how important the public thought it was that the U.S. be first to send a man to Mars. The results of this poll are contained in Table 2. These polls do not include the opinions of today's children who will be tommorrow's voters and policy makers, as well as ,hopefully, space activists. However, the results of an International Assessment of Education Progress Survey contained in Table 3 are not promising. We can only hope that our kids are "faking it" on these tests in order to lure other nations into a false sense of complacency.

Table 1: 1989 Gallup Organization opinion poll.
: On the whole, do you feel our investment in space research is worthwhile, or do you think it would be better spent on domestic programs such as health care and education?
                           Worth   Spent       No
                           while   Better      opinion
 NATIONAL                   43.0     52.0      5.0

 SEX       Male             51.0     43.0      6.0
           Female           35.0     59.0      6.0

 AGE       18-29 years      43.0     55.0      2.0
           30-49 years      50.0     45.0      5.0
           50 and older     35.0     57.0      8.0

 EDUCATION College Grad.    58.0     39.0      3.0
           College Inc.     51.0     43.0      6.0
           High School Grad 38.0     56.0      6.0
           Not H.S. Grad.   26.0     66.0      8.0

 INCOME    $50,000 +        63.0     33.0      4.0
           $30,000-$49,999  46.0     48.0      6.0
           $20,000-$29,999  43.0     52.0      5.0
           Under $20,000    28.0     66.0      6.0

Table 2: 1989 Gallup Organization opinion poll
How important do you think it is for the U.S. to be the first country to land a person on Mars? Would you say this is very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?
                   Very      Somewhat  Not too   Not at all  No
                   Important Important Important Important  Opinion

NATIONAL               19.0     32.0     25.0      23.0      1.0

SEX     Male           19.0     31.0     26.0      23.0      1.0
        Female         18.0     32.0     25.0      23.0      2.0

AGE     18-29 years    18.0     39.0     23.0      20.0      0.0
        30-49 years    16.0     32.0     28.0      24.0      0.0
        50 and older   22.0     27.0     25.0      24.0      2.0

EDUC.   College Grad   14.0     35.0     28.0      22.0      1.0
        College Inc.   19.0     30.0     33.0      17.0      1.0
        H.  S. Grad    18.0     35.0     23.0      24.0      0.0
        Not H.S. Grad  26.0     23.0     21.0      27.0      3.0

INCOME  50,000 +       16.0     35.0     29.0      20.0      0.0
        30,000-49,999  10.0     38.0     29.0      22.0      1.0
        20,000-29,999  23.0     32.0     22.0      22.0      1.0
        Under  20,000  22.0     26.0     24.0      26.0      2.0

Table 3: International Assessment of Educational Progress Survey, Educational Testing Service. NOTE: Germany and Japan did not participate in this survey.
          9 YEAR OLDS      13 YEAR OLDS

SCIENCE    4th of 14        14th of 19

MATH      12th of 14        15th of 20

HOMEWORK   8th of 14        16th of 20

The political environment also seems to mirror this viewpoint of the noncriticalness of space exploration. The relative unimportance of space exploration is made quite clear by President Bush's comments on the subject in his State of the Union Address of 01/28/92. President Bush stated " ". The Democratic reply, delivered by Thomas Foley was equally eloquent, " ". In the first two Democratic Presidential debates, not one comment was made about space exploration. This evidence should make it quite clear that as long as manned Mars mission costs remain on the order of tens to hundreds of billions of dollars, the current political environment and public perceptions, as identified in the opinion polls, will prevent us from reaching our neighbor.

The members of the space activists community can play an important role in combating public and political indifference. We can do this by disseminating as much information about the benefits of space exploration as possible. The remainder of this article is devoted to putting forth a variety of reasons why the exploration of Mars is important. It is not comprehensive. It is meant to serve as a starting point from which the reader can proceed to pursue his or her own ideas as to why manned missions to Mars are important.

Broadly speaking, benefits that can be derived from an extensive program of both manned and unmanned exploration of Mars fall into several categories. These categories are:

Linking each of these categories together, and providing immediate benefits to us, are the Spinoffs. The idea of using spinoffs to justify space exploration is a question open to debate in the space activist community. However, the general technological advancement that has occurred as a result of prior space endeavours is indisputable. Spinoffs are a powerful by-product of our investment in space that cannot and should not be ignored. In taking the steps necessary to send men to other worlds, we are creating new worlds. The technologies needed for these new worlds include artificial intelligence, energy production and management, environmental control systems, food production, manufacturing techniques, mining processes, robotics and the means of integrating these various technologies together. Additionally, invaluable and novel data is generated by the study of the human, animal and plant physiologies in non-earth environments. In this vein, space exploration has not been the only source of spinoffs. When Charles Darwin took the position as naturalist aboard the Beagle, he was exposed to varieties of plant and animal life not found in his native England. The spinoff of his around the world voyage was his theory of evolution.

Planets also undergo evolution. Other than spinoffs, probably the most immediate benefits of Mars missions will be in the arena of Planetary Science and Comparative Planetology. The basic question we want to answer is why is the Earth such a nice place to live, and will it always be so nice. Falling into this category are planetary evolution, planetary atmospheres, planetary hydrology, planetary geophysics, and climate change. A report issued by the National Academy of Sciences in 1978 stated that "the triad of terrestrial planets, Earth, Mars, and Venus, should receive the major focus in exploration... The ultimate goal in their exploration is to understand the present state and evolution of terrestrial planets with atmospheres. The comparative planetology of these bodies is a key to the understanding of the formation of the Earth, its atmosphere and oceans, and the physical and chemical conditions that led to the origin and evolution of life."(3) By studying surface morphology, chemical makeup, lithology, the distribution of surface materials, and the interior structure of Mars, we may begin to understand how our two planets turned out so differently. Permanently staffed laboratories on Mars would be able to carry out extensive analysis of Martian surface samples and environment. The idea of man as an important component of Martian studies is supported by a recent OTA report which states that "Experts in field research methods believe that... human explorers are likely to be most effective in carrying out geological field studies... or searching for signs of indigenous existing or fossil life on Mars."(4) Previous study of other worlds has had a bearing on our understanding of volcanoes, earthquakes, and weather.

A special bonus associated with Mars are its two moons Phobos and Deimos, which are generally accepted to be captured asteroids of the carbonaceous chondrite variety. Asteroids are important because they are very primitive objects. Determining the composition of asteroids will provide important information when it comes to evaluating models of how the solar system formed since they contain a record of the relative quantities of the various elements present at their time of formation. Manned missions to Mars give us our best opportunity to study these "dinosaurs" of the solar system up close.

Phobos and Deimos are also excellent sites for the study of impact processes. Exactly how craters come to look like craters is still a subject of some debate. Some feel that crater morphology depends on the body's surface gravity while others place more importance on material strength and the impact velocity. Studying the craters on Phobos and Deimos can help to settle the issue. The study of Phobos and Deimos will tell us about the structural strength of asteroids. We will also, for the first time, be able to study first-hand craters created in a very low gravity environment. A better understanding of these processes will aid in our understanding of Mars which will aid in our understanding of Earth.

Within the arena of planetary science, we begin with planetary evolution. Planetary evolution is concerned with the birth of planets from the solar nebulae and their development to their present state. One interesting aspect of this evolution is the Goldilocks paradox. The Goldilocks paradox is that Venus, Earth and Mars all formed at the same time from essentially the same materials in the solar nebulae, but Venus became a furnace, Mars an icebox, and Earth turned out just right. At this time there is not enough evidence or data available to give a definitive answer to the question of why this happened. The obvious answer is that Mars is to small and to far from the Sun, and Venus is just to close to the Sun, but we can't be sure. It is theorized that Mars may have lost a significant portion of its atmosphere during the impact of the object that created the Argyre Planitia but we won't know for certain until on-site studies are carried out. Sampling the surface to catagorize the amounts of volatile compounds could help determine whether or not the Martian climate did undergo massive change. It can also provide valuable data about the early solar system since the average age of the surface of the Earth is only 250 million years old but the average age of the Martian surface is estimated to be on the order of 2 to 3 billion years old.

The surface morphology of Mars will also be studied to better understand the extent and intensity of the period of early bombardment that occurred some 4 billion years ago.

Man's activities are right now effecting the course of planetary evolution on the Earth. Man can also can affect planetary evolution on Mars through terraforming. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Robert Haynes, former president of the International Congress of Genetics stated his desire to see NASA concentrate on the terraforming of Mars in order to spur discoveries in environmental and planetary science. That we may one day be able to turn Mars into a semi-hospitable home for life is the second most important benefit of making the move to Mars. The most important benefit is that Mars may provide us with information that may be vital to the saving of our own planet.

Through his activities, technological man has made great strides in altering the Earth's environment, especially its atmosphere. In an article in the January/February issue of the Planetary Reporter, Carl Sagan stated "Other planets provide important insights about what dumb things not to do to Earth." By studying how planets atmospheres are similar and different, scientists can gain a better understanding of how accurate their models of Earth's atmosphere are. Probably the three most important discoveries to come out of the study of planetary atmospheres are knowledge of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and nuclear winter.

In 1974, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina of the University of California, Irvine were studying the chemistry of the Venusian atmosphere, especially the effect of chlorine and halogens. They discovered that chlorine acts as a catalyst in the destruction of atomic oxygen and ozone. Their studies led them to the discovery that manmade chlorofluorocarbons would act to destroy the ozone in our stratosphere. It is the stratospheric ozone that absorbs incoming solar ultraviolet radiation. The effects of this radiation are most clearly demonstrated on the surface of Mars. Planetary scientists were quite suprised by Viking's failure to identify any organic materials in the Martian surface soil. It was later determined that the actions of solar UV radiation would have acted as an agent in the breakdown of any exposed organic materials.

Hydrogen and hydroxyl radicals, which are formed by the photochemical destruction of water, can also act to destroy the ozone catalytically. Models and theories of how this would happen in the Earth's atmosphere were tested by studying the latitudinal distribution of ozone on Mars. In the Earth's atmosphere, such studies are complicated by the presence of nitrogen and chlorine.

The greenhouse effect is the process by which certain gases in the atmosphere, known as greenhouse gases, cause the surface temperature of a planet to be warmer than it would otherwise be. Greenhouse gases are those that absorb infrared radiation. The primary greenhouse gas is CO2. Approximately half of Venus' surface temperature of 900 C is due to the CO2 in its atmosphere. Mars also experiences a greenhouse effect due to the CO2 component of its atmosphere.

While the prospects of a major nuclear war appear to have greatly diminished, the possibility of a nuclear exchange still exists. One unexpected and unwelcome side effect of a nuclear war is what has been termed the "nuclear winter". It is theorized that, due to the large amounts of particulate matter injected into the atmosphere by nuclear explosions, surface temperatures would drop dramatically. This knowledge came from studies of Mariner 9's infrared spectrometer readings of the Martian atmosphere during a global dust storm on that planet. The data indicated that while the atmosphere heated up, surface temperatures dropped. Atmospheric models based on this data were applied to Earth, and the nuclear winter effect was uncovered. Also, the proposition that high altitude smoke could spread quickly around the world was first demonstrated by using models of the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere.

The data used in the analysis of nuclear winter may also have another application. Polar heating that was observed during the global dust storm bears a strong resembelence to sudden stratospheric events here on Earth. Further data and modelling may provide insights into the energy transport mechanisms involved in these terrestrial events.

The models comparing different atmospheres work quite well because they represent different examples of the same phenomena. One method of identifying the source of our atmosphere is to study the ratios of the abundances of noble gases. These are gases that are chemically inert in the atmosphere and include helium, neon, argon, krypton and xenon. Measurments of these ratios for Venus, Earth and Mars point to planetary outgassing as the source for each atmosphere, rather than coming directly from the solar nebulae. In the same manner, measurements of the relative isotopic abundance of N14 and N15 in the Martian atmosphere indicate that the atmospheric air pressure on Mars 2 to 3 billion years ago was much higher than today. Other data provides evidence that Mars may well have outgassed enough CO2 to generate a surface atmospheric pressure of from 1 to 3 bars, with 1 bar being Earth's sea level air pressure. By comparing the history of our two atmospheres, we may be able to determine how the Earth was able to keep a warm atmosphere 3-4 billion years ago when solar output was some 30% less than it is today.

As important as life's effects on the Earth's atmosphere are the effects of the Sun. The Sun is the major driver of weather systems. However, it is difficult to separate solar effects from the effects caused by Earth's rotation, axial tilt, air pressure, internal heating, magnetosphere and surface boundary (the surface/atmosphere interaction) conditions. Modelling is also complicated by the presence of water in the atmosphere. On Mars, we can study these thermal effects that may play important roles here on Earth, but which we can't observe. Some of these thermal effects may be exaggerated on Mars because of its thin atmosphere.

Solar thermal tides and slope winds are two phenomena that occur on Mars and that should be studied in detail. Thermal tides are caused by the interaction of the solar diurnal thermal tide and the surface topology. These tides are important as sources of energy for major wind systems on Mars. These same systems are present on the Earth, but the energy associated with them remains a question mark and is a major factor in our current inability to determine the total energy budget of the Earth's atmosphere.

Slope winds are a result of daily temperature variations over a widely sloping surface. An example is cool air rushing downhill in the evening as the temperature drops. Studies of the Martian slope winds, which are more pronounced than their Earth counterparts, have been used as comparisons with Earth valley wind models, which are used in the study of air pollution.

The presence of a planetary magnetic field results in the presence of a magnetosphere. Earth has one and, it appears, Mars does not. The presence of a magnetosphere impacts a planet's atmosphere by shielding it from the solar wind, with the degree of effect being determined by field strength and planetary rotation rate. On Mars, we have the opportunity to study how the solar wind interacts with the atmosphere in the presumed absence of a magnetosphere.

Another question to be answered is what is the ultimate fate of our atmosphere? Gases can escape from an atmosphere by either thermal or non-thermal processes. For Earth's atmosphere, both are important but really can't be analyzed separately. On Mars, with its lower gravity, the thermal escape of gases predominates allowing this mechanism to be studied in greater detail.

Exactly why is Earth such a water rich planet? Current theories of how planets come to posess water say that Venus may once have had as much water as the Earth. Measurements of the deuterium to hydrogen isotopic ratios support this assumption. Measurements of this same ratio on Mars also suggest that the planet was once wet, which would require a denser, warmer atmosphere. Estimates for the total amount of water outgassed by Mars vary greatly. The amount of water could have been enough to create a global ocean anywhere between 50 and 1,000 meters deep. Today, the Martian atmosphere holds as much as 250 billion gallons of water vapor and substanial amounts are locked up as ice at the north pole, but where is the rest of it? Was it ever there? Channels were discovered on Mars by Mariner 9. We would normally associate channels with water processes but because of the "dryness" of the Martian climate today, many vehicles to explain their presence have been proposed. These have included wind, lava, glaciers and mud flows. No definitive answer will be available until we actually visit and sample these sites.

The presence of carbonates could act as a confirmation of the previous existence of liquid water on Mars. On Earth, liquid water supports the formation of carbonate ions which will react with calcium and magnesium ions. This combination precipitates out as carbonate rocks. The result is that most of the Earth's allotment of carbon is bound up in carbonate rocks. Today, the percentage of CO2 in the Martian atmosphere is less than that of Venus and more than that of Earth. This would support other evidence for the previous existence of liquid water on Mars. Recent studies at the University of Hawaii using near-infrared spectroscopy have failed to find evidence of carbonates. However, they have found evidence of clays, which would be created from the presence of liquid water.

We can't say what the role of water was on Mars until we actually carry out extensive on-site studies. Water's role as a source of water vapor, which is a greenhouse gas, means that definitive answers to questions about the history of the Martian atmosphere and climate will also have to wait for answers to the questions of the role of water on Mars.

Geophysics deals with a planet's insides, its seismology, heat flow, magnetic field and gravity field. Of particular interest to us are the processes governing seismology and magnetic fields. Comparative seismology can lead to a better understanding and improved predictability of earthquakes.

Most important are those processes invloved with the production of a planetary magnetic field, without which life might not exist on Earth. Through history, Earth's magnetic field has both wandered, varied in strength, and undergone pole reversal. It is suspected that there may be connections between these changes in our magnetic field and climate changes. There appears to be a correlation between polarity changes and pole wanderings and the onset of global cooling, and the extinction of some lower life forms. One example of this is the Gothenburg excursion which occurred 13,500 years ago. In an era of rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and retreating glaciers, our magnetic field suddenly reversed ploarity. This flip-flop was followed by a thousand year period of advancing glaciers and dropping temperatures.

Mars may once have had a magnetic field but, because of its small size, the molten iron core would have cooled and solidified, and the magnetic field would have been lost. This event may well have caused Mars to go "cold". Data may be uncovered on Mars that could answer the question of the role of magnetic fields on global cooling.

At this point, we do not know whether or not Mars ever did have a magnetic field. The existence of a magnetic field today has not been ruled out. If there is one on Mars, it must be very weak because it has not yet been detected. And what if we discover that Mars never had a magnetic field? How will this impact our current theories of our own magnetic field?

Climate changes are brought on by one of two processes: endogenic and/or exogenic. Endogenic mechanisms are those factors originating in the planet itself. An example of an endogenic change is the China-Tibet plateau, with the Himalaya mountains standing as testimony to the violent forces that have made our planet what it is today. This whole range was created when India rammed into the Euroasian plate. The creation of this mountainous area resulted in drastic changes to the climate of our planet, as well as probably causing an increase in the saltiness of the Atlantic Ocean. Exogenic factors are those brought about by external factors. The most important exogenic factor is the amount of solar radiation received by the planet.

The idea that external factors may affect climatic change and how pronounced those effects may be are still being debated. One theory of external change is the Milankovitch cycles. Proposed some 50 years by Milutin Milankovitch, it explains variations in the Earth's climate by the changes in the characteristics of the Earth's orbit and axial tilt. Specifically, Earth's spin axis precesses (wobbles) with a cycle of 25,800 years; the eccentricity (shape) of the Earth's orbit varies on a 100,000 cycle; the obliquity (axial tilt) changes by 4 degrees on a 41,000 year cycle. These variations cause the amount and distribution of solar radiation received by the Earth to change. However, because of the complicated nature of Earth's environment, the degree to which these changes affect our climate are still being debated.

Mars has greater changes of orbit and tilt than Earth, so the effects of the Milankovitch cycle will be more pronounced. In fact, the Milankovitch cycles could be responsible for the presence of the laminated terrain at the Martian pole, but we won't know until we actually visit the site and take samples. The history of climatic change on Mars may best be studied by analyzing this laminated terrain at the north pole. The fact that the Martian atmosphere is much easier to model than the Earth's means that once we do begin to seriously collect data on the history of the Martian climate, we can begin to answer questions about the fate of our own climate.

Current weather changes on Mars can be produced when there are changes in atmospheric composition and mass, or dust storms. Observations of these changes and their effects can provide a test to theories and atmospheric models developed to account for changes in Earth weather.

Earth's ice ages are also examples of climatic change. Will they return? We don't know, but Mars may be able to help answer the question. As was previously mentioned, continental movement on the Earth can drastically alter weather patterns. It has been theorized that the actions of plate tectonics may have contributed to the presence of ice ages. With only one tectonic plate, Martian climatic history would be more stable than the Earth's, making for better modelling. To quote planetary scientist Bruce Cordell, "Earth's climate record is becoming reasonably well known, but the complexity of our climate precludes accurate computer simulations. Conversely, Mars is a simpler system, but we suffer from a dearth of data for the red planet."(5)

Unicellular life developed on Earth approximately 3.5 billion years ago. There is still dispute as to just how life did form. Which came first, proteins or genes? Another theory, the Cairns-Smith theory, states that organic life ascended from "clays". Based on evidence collected to date, it would seem that Mars was quite similar to Earth at the time life developed here. Because Mars has not been nearly as geologically active as has the Earth, it is possible that evidence of ancient life may still exist. The best places to look for this evidence would be in the sediments that formed in the distant past.

A report issued by the National Academy of Sciences in 1977 stated that "The discovery and characterization of present or prior life on Mars would, in the opinion of many, constitute a scientific finding of unparalleled significance to biology, and it would constitute a finding of major importance to planetology."(6) Models have shown that near the equator on a summer day, the top foot of Martian soil gets warm enough that, given the presence of water soluable salts, liquid water could exist for extended periods of time. Could life be hardy enough to exist in this environment? Even the absence of evidence of life ever having existed on Mars would be significant in helping to establish the parameters under which life forms can develop.

In addition to searching for native Martian life, we will be examining ourselves and the life forms that we import to Mars. The long-term study of Earth-life in the Martian environment can yield important data about the effects of living in reduced gravity and in the absence of an Earth-normal planetary magnetic field.

According to John Logsdon, "If the vision of permanent human expansion into space is ever to be realized, the ability to use the resources of other planets must be developed."(7) Being the most Earth-like of the planets, Mars holds all the basic elements necessary for the creation of selfsufficient colonies. The most important of these resources are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Mars also has quantities of sulfates, chlorides, and minerals that contain iron, titanium, aluminum, magnesium and silicon, all extremely useful materials.

Examples of these resources and their uses are:
  • Argon, 1.6% of the atmosphere, is a potential fuel for solar electric propulsion.

  • CO2, 95% of the atmosphere, can be reacted with hydrogen to produce methane. It can also be reduced to produce carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen. The carbon monoxide can be used to produce methanol(CH3OH) and other organic compounds.

  • Hydrogen can be obtained by the electrolysis of water and is important for its use as a fuel.

  • Nitrogen, 2.7% of the atmosphere, is an important buffer gas for breathing air. It can also be reacted with hydrogen to produce ammonia for fertilizer.

  • Silicon, extracted from the soil, can be used in the production of solar cells.

The presence of Phobos and Deimos, which are most likely carbonaceous chondrite asteroids, is an added bonus. As a group, asteroids are important sources of the elements and minerals needed to support a spacefaring civilization. During the 1960's, approximately 50 percent of the world's supply of nickel came from the site of a prehistoric iron-nickel asteroid impact in Ontario, Canada known as the Sudbury astrobleme. Asteroids, especially the iron-nickel type, are thought to be richer in platinum group metals than the best ores on Earth. Platinum metals include platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, ruthenium and rhodium (important in pollution control technology.) Approximately 95% of the Earth's platinum group metals come from South Africa and the former Soviet Union. However, carbonaceous chondrite asteroids are more of a storehouses for volatiles. Some estimates have placed the amount of water contained in Phobos and Deimos as high as 1012 metric tons. Noncritical materials and the tailings from asteroidal mining operations may be used as sources of shielding mass.

Early studies of Phobos and Deimos will be particularly important as testbeds for the development of the techniques needed to mine asteroids. When working on asteroids, it will also be important to learn how to minimize and deal with dust generated as a result of activity on their surface. Apollo astronauts kicked up a fair amount of dust in their excursions on the Moon. On an asteroid, this dust would remain suspended above the "ground" for long periods of time because of the very weak gravity field.

The resources of Mars, Phobos and Deimos can be used initially to support Martian operations. with the goal of selfsufficiency. Once developed, these same resources can be used to support operations in near-Earth space, on the Moon, and in the asteroid belt. In the long term, these materials may play a key role in interplanetary trade.

Cultural reasons for the exploration and settlement of Mars are the most difficult to quantify and, possibly, justify. It can't be denied that the exploration of space, and the by-products of that exploration, have affected our culture. How often have you heard "If we can put a man on the Moon, why can't we....?" Whether or not these effects have been worth the investment that produced them is really a matter of personal outlook. A wide range of arguments have been presented supporting man's need to explore, and how this exploration has enriched the culture that sponsored it. They range from being pride in one's country for its achievements to a positive outlook for the future. In a NASA symposium on exploration, Norman Cousins stated about Viking that "We went to Mars not because of our technology, but because of our imagination."(8)

Perhaps the most compelling cultural reason for building a spacefaring civilization is that it holds with it the promise of a wealthy, unbounded future. Compare this with the future portrayed by many environmentalists. Their position that we are Earth-bound and that future generations will have to lead more resource-frugal lives is negativist in outlook.

The reasons for the manned exploration and eventual settlement of Mars are many and varied. I have not covered all the possible reasons for going to Mars, like very long baseline interferometry. I have also not devoted enough coverage to other reasons for going. The thrust of this article has been to give the reader a starting point from which to work. Individually, each of the reasons presented for going to Mars is like a thread, not very strong when projected costs are considered. Taken together however, this family of threads builds a rope strong enough to support the weight of manned missions to Mars. In closing, I would like to quote former Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh who, in the 1960's, asked "What will it profit this country if we... put our man on the Moon by 1970 and at the same time you can't walk down Woodward Avenue in this city without fear of some violence?" It is the responsibility of the space activist community to answer this question for the Jerome Cavanagh's of the world.

(1) R. Seamans and F. Ordway ,"The Apollo Tradition" from Interdisciplinary Science Review 1977.
(2) H. Mark and H. Smith, "Fast Track to Mars", Aerospace America, August 1991.
(3) Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration of the National Academy of Sciences, 1978.
(4) Exploring the Moon and Mars Choices for the Nation July, 1991: Office of Technology Assessment.
(5) Bruce Cordell, "Mars, Earth, and Ice", Sky and Telescope, July 1986.
(6) National Academy of Sciences, 1977 "Post-Viking Biological Investigations of Mars".
(7) John Logsdon, "Resist The Pull OF Mars, Air and Space May 88.
(8) Norman Cousins, "Why man Explores" symposium, 1976.

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