Welcome to the Mars NOW! web site. Whether you’re just here out of curiosity or you’re an avid Mars and space exploration enthusiast, I really appreciate you taking an interest in this project.
I started this blog to share my enthusiasm and dream for travelling to Mars, and to hopefully connect with others who have a common vision and passion. The blogging scene is new to me and my sister seems to have been endowed with most of the literary skills in my family, but I will do my best to chronicle my journey to Mars. My proposals are a little unconventional, but any comments, questions, or suggestions are welcome as long as they are respectful.
In case it isn’t entirely clear yet, I am on a quest to go to Mars. It’s not a figurative metaphor for exploring my masculinity, and I’m not referring to some obscure mid-western town. I intend to travel to the red planet, and my goal is to do so in 2022. This sounds ambitious and maybe a little brazen, but it’s time for us to extend our frontiers. There’s been a lot of talk about going to Mars recently in industry, news, and media, but I’m not just on the bandwagon. This is something that has been on my mind for several years and the confluence of circumstances has recently brought it to the forefront of my attention. Getting to Mars engages my thoughts continuously and is a driving motivation for nearly everything I do.
Many people ask me why I want to go to Mars. It’s a complicated, multifaceted answer. In part, I feel that this is my calling and purpose in life- the one thing that I can do better than anyone else. That’s not to suggest that I’m the only person who could do it, and I don’t claim to be the most qualified person to do it. I believe that I will do it though, simply because I have the determination to do whatever it takes. A second reason for going is that I believe it’s important to show my children and young people everywhere that the sky is not the limit. We are truly capable of anything that we set our minds to, and the greatest benefit of any good adventure isn’t arriving at the destination but the experience of the journey itself. Finally, I regard Mars as a stepping stone to far more distant destinations. The planet’s abundant resources and lower gravity will make it ideal as an industrial center and a gateway to the outer limits of our solar system and beyond.
I really like this video from a TED Talk that Elon Musk did in 2017. He says, “I look at the future from a standpoint of probabilities. It’s like a branching stream of probabilities. And there actions that we can take that effect those probabilities, or that accelerate one thing or slow down another thing, or may introduce something new to the probability stream… The fundamental value of a company like Tesla is the degree to which it accelerates the advent of sustainable energy, faster than it would otherwise occur. So when I think, ‘What is the fundamental good of a company like Tesla?’, I would say hopefully if it accelerated that by a decade, potentially more than a decade, that would be quite a good thing to occur.”
Those remarks refer specifically to Tesla’s innovative role in industry, but the context was with regard to the importance of SpaceX in making humanity an interplanetary species. It stands to reason that the same value would apply to accelerating our exploration of space by ten years or more.
While my entire life has brought me to this point, I think that my fascination for going to Mars really began back in 2011 while I was working on a capstone project for my master’s degree at Embry-Riddle University. I began looking at the decline of the U.S. space program and considered why we were essentially regressing in our exploratory efforts. I contrasted current U.S. policies and cultural attitudes toward space travel with the policies and attitudes toward air travel in the first third of the 20th century. It became apparent that our attitudes toward safety and risk tolerance have changed substantially since the barnstorming days of the 1920s. As a society we have accepted exorbitant costs for incremental increases in perceived safety, to the effect of stifling our spirit of adventure and progress.
Charles Lindbergh has been a role model for me as I’ve conceived this project. In 1927 he became the first person to pilot an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. This was an amazing feat not just because it was the first time that it had been done, but because he disregarded every convention of the era in doing it. Rather than utilize a large multi-engine aircraft he employed a lighter and more fuel efficient single engine monoplane. While most of his competitors had crews of three or four people to serve as radio operators, navigators, and relief pilots, Lindbergh made the journey alone. This conserved valuable weight that could be used to carry extra fuel, extending his range. He also conserved weight by minimizing unnecessary equipment and traveling in relatively austere conditions. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of his accomplishment is that he did it all for a fraction of what his competitors were spending. While other teams’ budgets ran up to $100,000, Lindbergh completed his trip for less than $20,000.
Lindbergh’s example is as relevant now as it was in 1927. Mars is within our reach utilizing existing technologies, but I believe that getting there requires a different approach than current convention dictates. I intend to develop a mission architecture based largely on the principles that Lindbergh employed in his record setting voyage, emphasizing organizational efficiency and minimal cost.