>> Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Jeff King asked: If we ever travel to a planet, i mean actually going there ourselves in a spacecraft. What one do you think it would be, and when?
Well, do you count the moon? 'Cause, in my opinion, that's the way to go.
Why, you might ask. Because the moon is close at hand, an excellent place to test out all the things we're going to need when we move to other planets. Any other planet is months (if not years) to get to, a complicated trip where, if anything goes wrong, there are limited options to correct the rescue them. If the US doesn't make it there in the next ten years or so, other countries are also considering it and they will go there first.
However, if the moon doesn't count, it will be Mars. Why?
First, although Venus is technically closer, it is very inhospitable. Hot - I mean DAMN hot, toxic atmosphere, high pressure (like deep underwater type pressure). Right now, we just don't have equipment that can protect people from this kind of harsh environment. Protecting people from vacuum and temperature extremes found in "deep space" is child's play next to protecting people from temperatures that will melt lead (literally) or exposure to sulfur dioxide.
The gas giants are very very far away with no place to land. Some of the moons to the gas giant have possibilities as places to explore. But, as for planets, Mars will be first.
When? Not sure. It depends on when we come up with the right plan and then DO it. Not soon enough.
Now returning me to my regularly scheduled hiatus.