Mars is the hottest topic in the space science world these days, with new rovers, orbits and gliders that find new and exciting things for the Red Planet with surprising regularity. Multiple crew missions are already at the earliest stages, but not everyone is fighting the idea of sending people to our most delicious planetary neighbor.
In a new BBC interview, the former NASA astronaut and pilot of the Apollo 8 lunar module, Bill Anders, tried to get the humanity on Mars, and he is not very enthusiastic about the whole thing.
Anders, now 85 years old, says there is not much reason to send people on Mars, especially when drone missions seem to do great work independently and much less investment. The former NASA astronaut, who notes that he is "a great supporter" of drone marshals, called the Mars missions to be "almost funny".
"Who is imperative? What pushes us to go to Mars?" Asked Anders during the interview. "I do not think the public is so interested."
Along with his criticisms of ongoing missions on Mars by crew, Anders had some particularly harsh words about the current state of NASA.
"NASA today could not get to the moon, they're so firm," Anders told the BBC. "NASA has turned into a job program … many of the centers are mainly interested in staying busy and you do not see public support, except that workers get their salary and their congressmen reelected."
Anders does not have to be wrong about several of his points, but it's worth noting that NASA continued to fight for the budget for a while, and the inability to provide funding for new, more exciting achievements certainly have hampered its ability to permanently destroy the public with pioneering feats. In any case, the staffed missions on Mars are less a matter of "if" and more a question about "when."