To Mars by Economy Class: A Perfect Project For Trump

President Trump can “make America great again” by planning a surprising and easily affordable human exploration mission to the red planet Mars and its two moonlets Phobos and Deimos: PH-D, for short.  JFK is remembered by many people mainly for putting Americans on the Moon, but he really just initiated the program. The two moonlets of Mars were discovered in 1877 at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.  They are in near-circular, near-equatorial orbits around Mars.  Deimos, smaller than the island of Manhattan, orbits at a distance of 6.9 Martian radii; Phobos, about five times larger than Deimos, is at 2.8 radii, with its orbit shrinking because of tidal friction; it will be gone in just a few million years.  In past lectures, I have joked that the dinosaurs might have seen more Martian moons, now gone, “if they had had better telescopes.” Notice that I did not suggest colonization of Mars -- the current rage, a replay of the...(Read Full Article)