Space shock: Why Neil deGrasse Tyson claimed mission to Mars ‘not going to happen’
On October 8, 2015, NASA published its strategy for human exploration and colonisation of Mars. The concept operates through three distinct phases leading up to fully sustained civilisation on the Red Planet, which they hope to implement sometime in the mid-2030s. However, in 2016, SpaceX publicly announced a comprehensive vision to rival NASA and begin the colonisation of Mars sooner, by proposing to develop high-capacity transportation infrastructure.
The company CEO Elon Musk unveiled two phases for the first missions to Mars via his new Starship rocket. He stated that in 2022, at least two Starship cargo vehicles will land on Mars, then two years later two crew vehicles will take the first people to the Red Planet. However, Dr Tyson does not think it will make it to Mars. He said at the World Government Summit last year: “Why are we going to Mars? What’s motivating it? What’s paying for it?
“Here’s the problem, you might say ‘private enterprise will do it,’ no – my research tells me no they will not. “Not because I don’t want it to be so, I’m just a realist about this. “Let me tell you how much of a realist I am, I published a book a couple of years ago called “Space Chronicles: Facing the ultimate Frontiers”. “That’s not the title I submitted it with, the title I submitted was “Failure to Launch: The Dreams and Delusions of Space Enthusiasts”. “The publisher said ‘no we can’t have that, it’s got the word failure in it.’”
Dr Tyson thinks private company will instead help to support government goals instead of lobbying new ventures. He added: “Here’s why it’s not going to happen. “There is no capital market valuation of the space frontier. “It’s expansive, here’s how the meeting will go, “I run a company and I want to send people to Mars, no one has done that before.
“I invite in the investors, that’s how capitalism works, you have investors and they ask questions like ‘how much will it cost?’ Well a lot. “They ask what will be the return on investment? Probably nothing. “Is it dangerous? Yes, people will probably die.” Dr Tyson said NASA is the most likely candidate to colonise Mars. He continued: “That is a three-minute meeting with the venture capitalists, the history of this exercise is that governments lead. “Governments have long-term interests in the success of the technology, over a longer period of time than any corporate entity could possibly justify.
“Corporations have quarterly reports, annual reports, shareholders, but a government can say ‘we will do this and it will pay back in 20 years’ and just do it.” In November 2015, Administrator Bolden of NASA reaffirmed the goal of sending humans to Mars. He laid out 2030 as the date of a crewed surface landing and noted that planned 2020 Mars rover would support the human mission. However, in March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence declared “American Astronauts will walk on the Moon again before the end of 2024, by any means necessary”. This reportedly pushed back the space agency’s Mars aspirations.