Once again the Kennebec Journal prints a golly-gushy article about human space missions (“Our View: Maine astronaut reaches beyond her childhood dreams,” Dec. 11). With all due respect for Jessica Meir’s skill and courage, what’s next is more of the wasteful manned space missions that NASA has used for 60 years to justify its budget.

It’s just not sexy enough for Americans to be told we are going to launch unmanned satellites that will give us worldwide telephone, televisio, and weather, and show us the real dangers of climate warning. The macho men of NASA want to return to the moon and on to Mars. No matter the moon yielded so little of value that we have not gone back for 48 years. No matter that Mars is just a fly-by.

Landing on Mars is a suicide mission; you will not have enough fuel to leave. Martian gravity is about 40% of Earth’s. We used multi-stage Apollo rockets weighing more than 3,000 tons to escape Earth’s gravity. Even the wildest sci-fi fanatic knows you cannot take 40% of one of those along to escape Mars. We have done the fly-bys and landed unmanned probes that operated on Mars for a few months. If humans do manage to land, we will receive a few TV appearances followed by prompt death of the astronauts. Getting to Mars while keeping humans alive will consume a mission’s resources in a fraction of the time the tiny probes of 1970s through 2000s managed to operate.

NASA and the American public should grow up and acknowledge what we actually need is a massive effort by all technologies to understand and stop global warming. Nothing but publicity shots will come from placing hairless simians on the moon or Mars.

Phillip J. Davis

West Gardiner

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