Such words are heard from ordinary taxpayers, but not from famous astronauts. Nevertheless, Bill Anders and Frank Borman believe that the colonization of Mars and the associated plans of Musk and Bezos are beneficial only for the image of billionaires. And for science they are useless.
NASA could better manage resources, for example, allocate more time and money to the InSight mission to study the internal structure and composition of the Red Planet, Bill Anders said.
“What is the urgent need? What pushes us to go to Mars? I do not think that society is interested in this,” Anders said, he was the first to fly around the moon as part of the crew of the Appolon-8 spacecraft in 1968.
Anders’s argument is that NASA, in his view, is now working for the public, not for science.
New missions improve the image of the agency, attract more funding and talented professionals, but bring little practical scientific knowledge, Science Alert writes.
Such statements, especially from the mouth of specialists, illustrate a deep ideological split in public opinion on the issue of manned missions that were planned by NASA, SpaceX of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
Anders’s opinion is supported by Bill Nye, an American TV host and popularizer of science. He had previously stated that no civilian would want to go to live on Mars. And recently, he spoke even more harshly: “As for the idea of the terraforming of Mars – with all due respect, have you been stoned?”
Another astronaut who has flown around the moon with Anders is not so categorical. Frank Borman believes that manned missions are important.
“I’m not as critical of NASA as Bill,” Borman said in an interview with the BBC. “I firmly believe that we need to explore the solar system and that man is part of this process.”
However, it also distinguishes between research and colonization.
“I think there’s a lot of stupid hype around Mars,” Borman says. “Musk and Bezos talk about the creation of colonies on Mars. That’s nonsense”.
Last summer, a commission of leading American scientists called on NASA to expand the Mars exploration program. In particular, focus on the newly opened lake with liquid water. Musk continues to declare that he is ready to move to the Red Planet and die there, if necessary.