Apollo 8 Astronaut Criticizes Space Shuttle, Calls NASA's Manned Mars Plans 'Almost Ridiculous'

Monday, 24 December 2018 - 12:16PM
Space
Mars
Monday, 24 December 2018 - 12:16PM
Apollo 8 Astronaut Criticizes Space Shuttle, Calls NASA's Manned Mars Plans 'Almost Ridiculous'
< >
Adapted from public domain images via NASA and Pixabay
With all this talk about the future and the dream of sending "man" to Mars, we all got so lost in the quotes from NASA and advancements in technology that we forgot to ask for a second opinion. According to the BBC, not everyone is on board with the idea. In a recent interview, Bill Anders, an astronaut from the Apollo 8 mission, called the idea of sending manned missions to Mars "almost ridiculous" and said that he doesn't understand why people are so gung-ho about it.

On December 21, 1968, Lunar Module Pilot Major William A. Anders made history along with two other astronauts (Commander Colonel Frank Borman and Command Module Pilot Captain James A Lovell Jr.) as the first humans to leave Earth's orbit. Now 85 years old, Anders remains a supporter of NASA's unmanned space programs, but just doesn't see why sending humans nearly 34 million miles into space is necessary or important. "What's the imperative? What's pushing us to go to Mars?," the pioneering astronaut asked. The BBC reports that during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Anders praised the unmanned missions as being more fiscally responsible, but criticized NASA for not being the space agency it was back in the 1960s. "NASA couldn't get to the Moon today. They're so ossified," he said. "[It] has turned into a jobs programme...many of the centers are mainly interested in keeping busy and you don't see the public support other than they get the workers their pay and their congressmen get re-elected."

Anders went on to call the Space Shuttle a "serious error" and said that the space station only exists because they had the shuttle. "I think NASA's lucky to have what they've got - which is still hard, in my mind, to justify," Anders added. "I'm not a very popular guy at NASA for saying that, but that's what I think." Frank Borman considers himself "less critical" than his mission mate and argues that manned missions are necessary for a "robust exploration of our Solar System." Borman was, however, less impressed with the idea of space tourism and plans to send non-astronauts to Mars. "I do think there's a lot of hype about Mars that is nonsense," Borman said during the radio interview. "Musk and Bezos, they're talking about putting colonies on Mars, that's nonsense."
Science
NASA
Space
Mars
No