Andrei Kislyakov looks at the problems of human missions to the Red Planet in his commentary, Will we reach Mars? And what is the main obstacle to sending people to Mars? People.
“Hardly anything can prevent mankind from launching piloted flights to other planets. But alongside technicalities, it will have to resolve the problem of preserving the life and health of a man who will be the most precious and vulnerable link in a Martian or any other mission,” he writes.
Meanwhile, University of Hartford history professor Michael Robinson makes the case for robotic Mars missions over their much more expensive human counterparts.
“Space exploration is a zero-sum game. Sending astronauts to Mars (a planet now studied quite efficiently by rovers, orbiters, and, as of late May, the Phoenix Lander) requires an enormous investment that will come at the expense of smaller, more useful, scientific projects,” Robinson argues.
Arizona’s East Valley Tribune says that based on initial Phoenix soil analysis, Mars would be a perfect to grow turnips, asparagus and green beans. Well, aside from the “violent extremes of temperature, lack of liquid water and the lethal ultraviolet radiation,” of course.