January 7, 2012
Red Flag on the Red Planet: China's Great Leap Marsward?
People have speculated for well over a century about setting foot on Mars, but is it likely to happen? We know that in prehistoric times, numerous groups of hominids ventured out of Africa into unknown lands at least once. All eventually died out, except for one: our ancestors, homo sapiens. Countless lives would later be lost by descendants of these ancient migrants as they trekked through uncharted wilderness or set sail on vast oceans in flimsy wooden craft. Today, people die every year while driving racecars or climbing mountains. We seem to be hardwired for activities that involve risks beyond those of everyday necessity. Add this to our innate curiosity, and it's no longer a question of whether we will go to Mars, but of who will be the first to try. Unfortunately, human beings are perhaps the worst space explorers imaginable: delicate and high-maintenance. Think of how much oxygen, water, and food just one person needs to survive for...(Read Full Article)