The human race is at a crossroads. In the coming years, we will make decisions about our human spaceflight program that will lead to one of two familiar futures: the open universe of Star Trek, where we have the opportunity to spread our wings and flourish as an interplanetary species—or the closed dystopia of Soylent Green.
If we ever hope to live in the former scenario, says aerospace engineer and author Dr. Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society, our first stepping stone must be a manned mission to Mars.
In MARS DIRECT, Zubrin investigates the challenges (and benefits) of a manned Earth-to-Mars mission. These are challenges which, according to Zubrin, we are technologically more prepared to overcome than the obstacles of missions to the moon in the 1960s and 70s. He posits that the man’s future as a species is intertwine with our ability to explore space—and specifically Mars. In order to ensure our survival, we must take the necessary baby steps away from the cradle that is planet Earth or face the possibility of our ultimate extinction.