"The Planetary Society's "Humans Orbiting Mars" workshop is an invitation-only gathering of top science, engineering, and policy professionals. The goal of the workshop is to build consensus on the key elements of a long-term, cost constrained, executable Program to send humans to Mars. This program would consist of a series of steps leading to a Mars orbital mission and potential rendezvous with the Martian moon, Phobos, in the early 2030s as a crucial step towards future missions that will land on the surface of the Red Planet. While the workshop itself will be closed to the media, a press briefing will follow and a full report will be released later in the year."
Keith's note: Here we go again. First we had the Pioneering Space National Summit - a closed door, mystery participant, no-media event concerning human spaceflight which will produce output at a later TBD date - an event that excluded the Planetary Society. Not to be out done, the Planetary Society is going to have their own closed door, mystery participant, no-media event concerning human spaceflight which will produce output at a later TBD date. The three participants at the press event after the actual workshop are not going to say anything that they have not said a hundred times before and will most certainly give it their own spin anyway. And of course this effort will not coordinate with anything that came from the other momentous space policy event - even though the topics both addressed (apparently) have great potential overlap and synergy.
Yet once again the space advocates will claim that they have accomplished something by talking about things.
Here's a crazy idea: Why not wait to have this discussion until May when the Humans to Mars Summit discuses the same things that these two stealth events discussed except that they do so IN PUBLIC and ONLINE?
While only a few people will actually get inside the spacecraft that go to Mars, everyone else gets to pay for these trips one way or another. After three decades of waving their arms around behind closed doors it is time for these space advocacy groups to get off their asses, step out into the sunshine, and publicly discuss the plans that they have to spend everyone else's tax dollars - and do so by actually involving these taxpayers. Otherwise these space advocate leaders/experts need to sit down and shut up and stop complaining that no one is listening or that no one understands.
Given the slow motion implosion of the Mars One reality TV show/infomercial/pyramid scheme that very same taxpaying public is going to wonder whether any of these humans to Mars concepts are viable. I am not certain that any of the current crop of space activists is qualified to answer that question since they were either shamelessly cheering this stunt on or hiding from the media to avoid publicly casting any doubt.
That said, someone in the space world needs to get serious - about being serious - and they need to do so soon. Otherwise no one is going to go to Mars any time soon.
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