科学美国人:Humans on Mars Soonish Says NASA Bigwig

60秒科学节目(SSS)是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目,英文名称:Scientific American - 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主,节目仅一分钟的时间,主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍,对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术,提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。

Last week NASA hailed the launch of its new Orion capsule as the first step toward sending people to Mars. But is a manned mission to the Red Planet really doable?

“I liken it to the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s when it was believed that Everest might be impossible to climb.” John Grunsfeld, the former astronaut who now heads NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. We spoke at Cape Canaveral just before the Orion launch.

“Well, eventually it was climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hilary. And they did this big siege approach where they had thousands of porters and they brought big camps and afternoon tea and all this kind of stuff. And that was kind of the Apollo approach to going to the moon and back safely in a decade. We brought all resources to bear.

“But modern exploration on Earth—polar exploration, Antarctic, climbing, even climbing Mount Everest—people do it in a very light fashion using technology, they’re very creative and they take more risks in some cases. And I think that’s going to be our path to Mars, a much leaner path and one where we are able to use technology to enable the way, rather than a big siege approach.

“And so I think it’s very realistic. I think we could do it in the 2030’s, certainly by the 2040’s, with the national will and the interest. And I think it’s our science missions that are providing that drive.”

—Clara Moskowitz

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