We are told by NASA and the Bush Administration that we are setting our sites on manned space missions to the moon and mars and to eventually set up human colonies on each. I agree as you probably do that this is indeed a good start. Also having such colonies set up allows for Space Exploration pit stops for missions far beyond in our own solar system and elsewhere as well.
They figure we will have a human colony on Mars by 2030 or so and the leap-frog concept makes sense indeed, but also realize that private enterprise can get us there a lot sooner than NASA. You have to have a good jumping off point and outposts to assist in the game, but personally I am for sooner rather than later and more rather than less. And this is not just about budgets either, as it is about attitude and strength of character. It is more about vision than only money. Throwing money at the problem is government’s theory.
I say lets change attitude and strap a crap load of rockets on a space shuttle and have it rendezvous with another set of rockets, strap them on and let them do a one-way mission and set up camp now, as in this year. Land the whole friggin thing there dig a hole set up the colony now. Load the space shuttle for bear with all sorts of expandable SpaceHab type systems and pods attached for cargo to live for 10-years until the rest of the space folks figure out what they are doing, get their act together and wish to come join in the fun. Meanwhile have those Mars Colony people talk and communicate with us here. Now that is the PR needed to ignite the imagination.
We need to stop wimp’ing around. I just hate weakness, especially considering the Apollo risks and rewards as an example of what can be done. What do you think about a Mars Colony and the need for Pit Stops, re-fueling stations and the leap-frog concept in general? Do, consider this in 2006.