Space Frontier Foundation Decries Debate Over Moon – Mars as Next Human Destination, Calls for Both

Space Frontier Foundation Decries Debate Over Moon – Mars as Next Human Destination, Calls for Both

October 17, 2002 Press Releases

Houston, TX, October 17, 2002 – Should humanity go to the Moon or Mars? This will be the topic of a debate to be held at the World Space Congress in Houston Texas this week – but the Space Frontier Foundation says there really is no debate, we should go to both.

The Foundation believes the debate, between Dr. Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society and Dr. Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, gives too much credence to the idea that there is a real argument between supporters of the two destinations. The group sees no conflict, and in fact sees them as complementary projects, believing that much of the knowledge and experience required to build and operate permanent facilities on the Martian surface mirrors that required for a continuing human presence on the Moon.

“We are for the human settlement of all space, including both the Moon and Mars, but it has to be done right, or the whole thing could backfire and lives could be lost, or we could end up with Apollo on Mars – a one-shot burst of glory, and then nothing left but flags and footprints,” stated the Foundation’s Rick Tumlinson. “It is simply common sense to take the right steps in the right order.”

The Foundation disagrees with the premise held by some on both sides that this decision needs to be based on zero-sum government funding. Given the Moon’s proximity and the commercial possibilities it represents, the group foresees a partnership wherein the government can focus on costly infrastructure and safety issues they will need to develop for Mars, while the private sector focuses on Lunar resource development, housing and other potential money makers. In the end this synergy will save taxpayers billions, kick start a lunar economy and free the space agencies to get back to the job of exploring the Far Frontier of Mars and beyond.

“For the Foundation the motto is ‘All of the Above!’ We will not be satisfied by stunts or dead-end missions. This time when humanity goes to another world we go to stay, and that means developing economic, viable, rugged and safe infrastructure, transportation and habitation, not throwing humans out into the void unprepared.”

Learn more about the Foundation and its annual Return to the Moon Conference at:
http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/Moon/