Author of The Martian Predicts Humans Will Get to Mars Two Decades Later than NASA

Tuesday, 05 May 2015 - 4:55PM
Space
Mars
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 - 4:55PM
Author of The Martian Predicts Humans Will Get to Mars Two Decades Later than NASA
The Humans to Mars conference started today, and it began on a very high note. NASA administrator Charles Bolden opened the conference by asserting that there is an "emerging consensus" on a timeline that gets humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s, and claimed that NASA is technologically on track to meet that goal. NASA's Scott Hubbard agreed, and claimed that we are approaching a "window of opportunity" to establish a program for manned missions to Mars, citing Andy Weir's bestselling novel The Martian as an example of a work that would increase public support for such an endeavor.

Then, just a few hours later, Weir himself gave a significantly less optimistic estimation of our progress towards manned missions to Mars. "My stock answer is probably around 2050," he said, "I know that sounds further away than most people would like to hear, but the technology necessary to get there and the costs of getting there are just very high and it's a big challenge."

Weir not only thought that it would take fifteen to twenty more years to reach Mars than NASA, he expressed concern that his own estimate "might be optimistic." He justified this view by reminding the crowd that during the Apollo missions, many believed that we would walk on Mars during the 1980's.

But regardless of whether he thinks it's feasible in the near future, Weir finds it to be paramount that we have a back-up plan for humanity in case Earth becomes uninhabitable: "I would like to have a self-sufficient colony of humans and other species somewhere other than Earth," he said. "I'm a 25-year-veteran software engineer and I think it's important to back things up."

Via CNET.
Science
NASA
Space
Mars

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