Mars Is within Reach

On November 28, a syndicated op-ed by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda Hendrix appeared in the Los Angeles Times and carried over the following days by a number of other newspapers claiming that journeys to Mars are just a dream. According to these writers, the race to Mars “can’t be won with either’s [NASA’s or SpaceX’s] current technology, regardless of their spending or commitment. The barrier is human biology. Even a short sortie mission to Mars would be extremely hazardous to human health. A Mars colony is out of the question.” These pessimistic pronouncements have no scientific basis. For example, while Wohlforth and Hendrix point to a UC Irvine study in which irradiated mice sustained brain damage, they failed to note that the mice in question received their dose at about 40,000 times the rate it would be experienced by astronauts on a journey to Mars. This discrepancy makes the study invalid. In toxicology dose rates are critical. A glass of...(Read Full Article)