Given Apollo’s ignominious decay into golf-strokes and smuggled postage stamps, decades of Shuttles flying circles and crashing, the mind-killing boredom of the International Space Station, and our newfound digital solipsism, one might wonder why so many people still so ardently desire that humans should fly in space. For space fans, the very question is a confession of cluelessness, like asking why people like sex. Space is space! It’s where you go, man! You either get that or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’re a soulless droid.
John F. Kennedy, on the stump for a Moon mission in 1962, said that we must do things like conquer space “because they are hard” (1) — which is as good a logic for eating fried rat as for going to the Moon. So forget logic. Space travel has nothing to do with logic. Prudential rationales for human space travel have been invented—it’s the only way for our species to survive the next asteroid, a new frontier will rejuvenate our senile culture, the spinoffs will pay—but they are only pretexts. Listen instead to the cornball slogans of the space movement: “reach for the stars,” “mankind cannot live in the cradle forever,” “destiny in space.” They tell the truth. The desire for space is not a list of bullet points but a thing in the gut. It is less like a public-works program than a religion.
And no wonder. Space and God are inseparable; “up” has always been the God direction and still is. In medieval Christian cosmography, sin and death existed only on Earth, inside the geocentric crystal sphere to which the Moon was attached and which divided us from the rest of the cosmos. Heaven itself was beyond the sphere of the fixed stars, believed to be about 7.5 million miles away. So it’s not surprising that religious language—talk about immortality, leaving the body, the intersection of human and divine, soul-saving—has been popping up in the discourse of space-flight advocacy from the beginning. Sometimes it does so in a state of surprising nudity. In 1912, Russian rocketry pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, writing of life in outer space, said that “there is no end to life, to reason and to perfection [sic] of mankind. Its progress is eternal. And if that is so, one cannot doubt the attainment of immortality” (2). Charles Lindbergh, in his 1974 foreword to the memoir of Apollo 11 command-module pilot Michael Collins, wondered if it is
remotely possible that we are approaching a stage in evolution when we can discover how to separate ourselves entirely from earthly life, to abandon our physical frameworks in order to extend both inwardly and outwardly through limitless dimensions of awareness. In future universal explorations, may we have no need for vehicles or matter? (3)And Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society and de facto spokesman of the space movement today, said in the 1990s that terraforming Mars would be “the most profound vindication of the divine nature of the human spirit” (4).
Space is an open-ended, 360-degree metaphor for escape, transcendence, renewal, eternity, infinity, deity. It’s no coincidence that America has named its latest round of Moon and Mars craft, like those of the sixties and seventies, for Greek gods (Ares, Orion, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo), or that China’s humorless official atheists call their new manned space capsule Shenzhou, “divine flight” (5). Space flight—especially in its most ambitious form, space colonization — offers ascent to higher, purer realms on pillars of flame, new beginnings in otherworlds beyond the sky, escape for a tiny elect from the impending hell-fate of the majority, and eternal life, at least for the species.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the space advocacy movement is a religion: it meets too few of the standard criteria. It does not mandate particular patterns of personal behavior, it has no specific object of worship, and it does not employ prayer, meditation, fasting, or ritual to achieve altered states. It is not so much a religion as a form of “spirituality,” long on oceanic feeling and short on structure or stricture. But this religiosity, however undemanding, is the movement’s living root. Consider, for example, its music and art.
The official anthem of the Mars Society, the world’s premier space-colonization advocacy group, is a song called “Pioneers of Mars.” The first time I heard it, I was nagged by déjà vu: where had I heard that melody before? In church, of course; it differs by only a few notes from the Christian hymn “O Sacred Head Surrounded,” also known as the “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” chorale of Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. Its lyrics are devotional, too:
We are the new explorers.Snicker if you dare, but the Mars Society is no joke. It conducts joint field research with NASA on mobile robotic aids (7) and human Mars-base operations (8). And this tail is increasingly wagging its dog. In the human space-flight department, NASA sounds more and more like an exceptionally large, well-endowed chapter of the Mars Society. Its new Saturn-class booster rocket, for example, due for first flight after 2010, is almost exactly the design that Mars Society president Zubrin has been pushing for over a decade (9). NASA also follows in dubbing it “Ares,” the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Mars. It has even commissioned a space hymn of its own, “Way up There,” performed by R&B star Patti Labelle:
A sacred trust we keep
From forefathers before us
Who braved the briny deep.
Our mission aims us skyward
To the cold hard light of stars.
We leave Terra behind us
To be the pioneers of Mars. (6)
Way up thereThe religiosity of “Pioneers of Mars,” “Way up There,” and similar songs is not only formal but functional. Lloyd Landa, co-author of “Pioneers of Mars,” died shortly before it could debut at the Third International Mars Society Convention in 2000. His collaborator, Karen Linsley, sang it anyway. After the standing ovation she told the crowd, “Get to Mars. And when the notes of this song are heard on Martian soil, he will live again.” It’s hard to say exactly what that means, but the emotions in play are clearly religious.
where peace remains
where silence thunders
and angels sing
and amazing grace
bring us closer
to our home in space. (10)
In 2003, shortly after the shuttle Columbia broke up during reentry, Buzz Aldrin, second man on the Moon, broke into tears on-camera while reading aloud the lyrics of another space song, “Fire in the Sky,” which likens space flight to “going back to heaven just to look [God] in the eye.”11 And Patti LaBelle reprised “Way Up There” in the National Cathedral five days after the Columbia crash (12). Zubrin himself, Guru of Mars, has praised such songs for helping “win the hearts and souls of humanity to the vision of a spacefaring future” (13). The new space music thus serves for space believers at least some of what I take to be the basic functions of a hymnody: it reinforces a collective sense of meaning, sacralizes death, and calls out to potential converts.
The visual art of space-flight advocacy performs quasi-religious work, too, but this can be harder to see because we have been habituated by decades of magazine art to a future of rovers, domes, and spacesuited colonists posed like action figures on alien landscapes (NASA’s on-line gallery, www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/ images/mars, covers the ground well). It is easy to forget that these are not snapshots of the future but works of art crafted to glorify a certain complex of values. Like those popular paintings that blend bald eagles, wind-whipped American flags, Rocky Mountains, wolves, and spirit-Indians in the clouds, these images of incipient Moon or Mars colonies are ikons—formulaic treatments of sacred subjects intended to occasion and amplify reverence. Note how, in space-future art (not science-fiction art, which is far more diverse), the human figures are always clothed in life-giving garments of purest white and stand in conventionalized attitudes of “exploration”—holding up a rock as if they’d never seen one before, pointing out distant scenery to each other—which recall nothing so much as that perpetual contemplation of the Godhead anciently conceived as the essence of Heaven’s bliss. This is a world purged of the impure and trivial, infused with noble purpose, perhaps even freed from death—for defeat is never depicted. The brave, busy explorers never screw up, age, or die, and their planet of destination never turns out to be unbearably dull. Such outcomes are not possible in the Future, when we have reached out to Touch the Stars and achieved our Destiny in Space.
So space is Heaven. When Stephen Hawking urges us to avoid the dinosaurs’ fate by becoming a multiplanet species (14), it is also Noah’s Ark. When Robert zubrin urges Mars as a “planet of refuge” from the decay of Earth society (15), it is the Promised Land and Earth is the Egypt of our bondage. And the space movement’s constant conflation of physical with spiritual ascent recalls the Rapture, that astonishing moment when, millions of fundamentalist Christians believe, the faithful will literally ascend to “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17) while the majority are “left behind” to suffer the horrific Great Tribulation.
Unlike end-times religion, space colonization cannot offer personal salvation to every believer. Nor, however, does it demand belief in a commandment-barking God. And it does offer at least vicarious participation to all: when Neil Armstrong said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” he was implying that astronauts, far from being a tiny elite having cool adventures at everyone else’s expense, are mystical representatives of a universal church. Ask not for whom the rocket roars—it roars for thee.
Every exalted cause dresses up occasionally in the rhetoric of faith, so one must not lean too hard on the fact that the space movement does so too. Yet this much talk and song of sacred trusts, skyward missions, leaving the world, meeting God, living again, and winning souls, this many images of worlds redeemed from sin, triviality, and death, do suggest that something, if not precisely a religion then something oddly religious, has indeed nucleated around the idea of space travel.
If Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the Abraham of this nascent space faith, Robert Zubrin aspires to be its Moses. In essays, speeches, and books, most notably The Case for Mars (1996) and Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization (2000), he has made the following argument:
History shows that the only cure for social senility is a new frontier. A frontier raises the dignity of labor and frees and toughens the mind. Thanks to its frontier origins, the United States has for two hundred years “generally represented in its most distilled form” our “worldwide western progressive humanist civilization” (16). Unfortunately, a frontier inevitably stalls when it runs out of virgin territory, and ever since we hit the Pacific we have been devolving into Europeans. Symptoms of our stagnation include
increasing fixity of the power structure[,] bureaucratization of all levels of society, impotence of political institutions to carry off great projects, the cancerous proliferation of regulations affecting all aspects of public, private and commercial life, the spread of irrationalism, the banalization of popular culture, the loss of willingness by individuals to take risks, to fend for themselves or think for themselves, economic stagnation and decline, the deceleration of the rate of technological innovation and a loss of belief in the idea of progress itself. (17)We need a new, inexhaustible frontier: space, obviously. Where in space? The Moon is handy, but has little or no water, nitrogen, or carbon, which are the stuff of life, so nix the Moon. The Moon is for losers. Mars, on the other hand, has water, nitrogen, and carbon in abundance, so let’s go!
Following Zubrin’s “Mars Direct” plan, we begin five or ten years hence by dropping a nuclear-powered chemical plant on Mars to distill oxygen and rocket fuel from the air. When its tanks are safely full we send the first humans, the trailblazers. These return to Earth after a year on the surface, leaving their quarters behind for re-use. New teams visit every two years, building up experience and infrastructure. After a half-dozen or so of these cycles, the first homesteaders arrive to raise domes, drill for water, grow crops, and make babies. Back on Earth our spirits are revived by the knowledge that there is a frontier again, so regulations relax and innovation accelerates. “Western enlightenment values of humanism, reason, science and progress” are revived, zubrin predicts, and we enter upon a “never ending Renaissance” (18)
None of this, according to Zubrin, is merely desirable: it’s do or die. “The opening of a Mars frontier,” he writes, is “America’s and humanity’s greatest social need. Nothing is more important, because apply what palliatives you will, without a frontier to grow in, not only American society, but the entire global civilization based upon Western enlightenment values of humanism, reason, science, and progress will ultimately die” (19). Without Mars, in fact, “the probability is high that humanity will create hell for itself in the 21st Century” (20)
Not, however, because we’ll be running short of resources. Malthus was wrong, Zubrin says: we humans are so clever that we always discover new resources faster than we use up the old ones. But most of us will imagine that the resources are running out, which will cause wars and lots of environmental regulations. Billions of well-fed Earthlings will be fighting with knives over what they foolishly believe is the last can of sardines. Only if people can “see broad vistas of unused resources in front of them”—in pictures of Mars—will they perceive their actual prosperity.
It’s a curious argument, to say the least. Zubrin is forced to cast space colonization as primarily a cultural necessity, the one and only psychohistoric Viagra, by his loathing for the idea of resource limitations. On other occasions, however, he has argued that we must go to Mars precisely because population growth will soon make it “harder for people to own their own homes,” which, along with draconian environmental laws, will make life on Earth intolerable for “strong spirits” (21). With the Earth in Green-fascist lockdown, a “planet of refuge will be needed, and Mars will be there”—if we have had the sense to colonize it starting now.
Zubrin’s crowded-earth scenario contradicts his usual rejection of Malthus, and his claim that tyranny will arise on Earth despite our having colonized Mars contradicts his thesis that doing so must instantly trigger a “never-ending Renaissance” (22). Which is it? Do we need Mars as a refuge from the oppressive eco-regime that is guaranteed to arise, or as a guarantee that it will never arise?
Wrong question. Questions are wrong. Earth is damned if we do, damned if we don’t, saved if we do—so we must. Either way and any way, Mars saves.
Zubrin traces his concept of the frontier as cultural panacea to American historian Frederick Jackson Turner (1861–1932). America’s Western frontier, Turner opined in 1893 in a speech that Zubrin quotes at length, was the force that shaped the uniquely great American character: pragmatic, exuberant, individualistic, scornful of the past. The problem, Turner said, is that the West is all won, and “never again will such gifts of free lands offer themselves.” Never again until now, corrects: “Mars beckons.”
Tell me about it. As a kid, I watched John Glenn going around in a centrifuge on TV and wanted to be an astronaut. I devoured scores of science-fiction books, tapped out the first chapter of a crude Mars novel on an antique Underwood typewriter, took Star Trek like a weekly sacrament, and pored over photos of the real Mars in National Geographic with a magnifying glass, one halftone dot at a time. Even now, in bloated middle age, I read heaps of classic SF and adorn my house with NASA’s latest shots of the rings of Saturn and the sands of Mars. The appeal of the space movement is not a mystery to me.
Nevertheless, that movement should be firmly opposed.
To begin with, it would cost too much. Space enthusiasts hate when people say this, but it’s true. More basically, it wouldn’t work. The machines would fail and the people would die.
But wait — surely that sort of horse-and-buggy skepticism was discredited long ago? Haven’t Apollo and the International Space Station proved that we can travel to other worlds, live in space indefinitely? No, they haven’t, not in any relevant sense. Apollo proved only that we can manage a quick, shaky dash to our only nearby port of call, the Moon, and the International Space Station has proved only that at shocking cost and with frequent resupply, a handful of astronauts can do nothing in low-Earth orbit indefinitely. A round trip to Mars would take two years, during which time no resupply or rescue flights would be possible and all essential devices would either have to function perfectly or fail only in modes that the astronauts could fix. For a colony, the no-fail period would be forever.
While such extreme reliability is theoretically possible, our experience with complex system suggests that it is unlikely to be achieved. Space shuttles, ocean liners, power grids, jumbo jets, nuclear submarines, Windows operating systems—sooner or later, all fall down. A human habitat isolated in transit to a distant planet or perched on its surface would be a nifty incongruity for as long as it worked, like a Blackberry on Mt. Everest, but it would eventually cease to work. In space, no one can hear you scream for the repair guy.
Before the shuttle Challenger crashed, NASA said the Shuttle loss rate would be 1 in 100,000 shuttle launches (23). After Challenger but before Columbia, it said 1 in 250 (24). As of mid 2007 the observed rate was 1 in 59 and NASA admitted a risk of 1 in 100 (25). Sounds almost honest, but whoa, here come the big, round numbers again: NASA’s launch-failure estimate for the unbuilt, untested Ares booster, on which the Moon-Mars program depends, is 1 in 2,000 (26). Believe that and they’ll tell you another one.
Surely, though, one can’t argue with the spirit of the thing? Ad Astra per Aspera (to the stars through difficulties), and all that? If a motto is good enough for the state of Kansas, why not for the space movement?
Because Kansas knows that its stars are metaphorical, but the space movement is confused. The stars it urges us to reach for are neither purely literal—they are places in the sky, yes, but only a few nearby planets and moons, not the stars, which are utterly out of reach—nor purely metaphorical. They are a misleading hybrid. The space movement makes the same error as someone who imagines that if they buy a big house with a three-acre yard they will find themselves living an expansive, spacious life. It mixes up mechanical flight with the metaphorical wings of human freedom; it believes that if we go bodily to other planets we shall find spirit, soul, dreams, hope, uplift, God. The biggest, baddest, deepest problem with human space flight is that this is not true. The notion that flying or dwelling in space would ennoble us is irredeemably silly. Kennedy’s ringing words notwithstanding, the deaths of Christa McAuliffe and the other space martyrs notwithstanding, the thrill down one’s back as a Saturn V deluges the launch pad with fire notwithstanding, the space colonization fantasy, pursued as a literal goal, saps and cheats the human spirit.
First, it is bad religion. It is the religion of the lifeboat, of the saved few and the drowned many. It is that dangerous, literalistic kind of religion that, impatient with Christ’s advice that the Kingdom is within, determines to build it in brick and steel and law. Its spirit is avowedly to take, settle, conquer, occupy. Its ancestors are those Israelites who put the inhabitants of the Promised Land to the sword, sparing not, and those too-numerous Christians who have plagued the world for centuries with sword and gun, claiming other people’s homelands as their own frontiers.
Second, it lies about the history of those frontiers. zubrin and Turner speak of “gifts of free lands” as if England, France, and Spain found the Americas under a Christmas tree, but during the glorious, uplifting era of the Western frontier, Europeans sold Africans like cordwood and slaughtered Indians like buffalo. They raped the world.
Unfair and irrelevant, zubrin might reply: there are no Indians on Mars. That is true, but a social-renewal scheme predicated on bogus history, on a psychohistoric cause-and-effect process that does not exist, has little hope of success. Plus, there are still some Indians on Earth, and the fact that the next Great Frontier is slated to be on another planet does not put them—or the rest of us—entirely out of harm’s way. “Nothing is more important” than settling Mars, remember, and minds that think in cartoonish absolutes tend to give short shrift to competing priorities.
Third, space flight is not about being brave and bold. Truly bold spirits would dream of being enwombed in fewer machines, not more. The space movement markets to our soft, pink, all-American longing to cocoon ourselves in steel, to be mighty and comfy at the same time; it feeds on the same needy, mixed-up jones for heroic encapsulation that has moved an increasingly obese America to buy millions of over-powered, high-riding, air-conditioned SUVs. Both on the highway and in space we are forever isolated by our slick devices from the rough touch of everything that we have not manufactured and do not at least pretend to control. “Behold the [space-suited] astronaut, fully equipped for duty,” Lewis Mumford remarks of a Mercury astronaut in his capsule, “a scaly creature, more like an oversized ant than a primate—certainly not a naked god. To survive on the moon he must be encased in an even more heavily insulated garment, and become a kind of faceless ambulatory mummy” (27).
I understand the lust for heroic encapsulation. In childhood I drew elaborate diagrams of submarines and spaceships that would take me wherever I wanted to go in brave, daring, fearless, enclosed comfort. I specified oxygen tanks, fuel tanks, propulsion systems, batteries, bookshelves, couches, reading lamps, record players, food and water stores, toilets. Everything I needed or wanted would be right there inside my magic bus. I would climb in, button down the hatch, and blow off forever the cancerous proliferation of parentally imposed regulations affecting all aspects of my public, private and commercial life.
It’s a good thing I couldn’t, because it would have been a lonely and unsustainable life. This is the fourth great problem with the space fantasy: We cannot survive, thrive, or progress without both human community and the physical world, the underfoot world where we evolved. A kid playing space explorer in the backyard counts on Mom, Dad, and supper at six so deeply that she doesn’t even know it. She also counts on the Gulf Stream, rain falling on the Central Valley of California, and the bugs in the hedge, though she doesn’t know that either. She can play at space explorer only because she is backed up by that vast, ancient, and organic stability called the Earth.
In truth, nobody has less real independence than an astronaut or is less likely to invent new ways of being human. Life in space would mandate social and behavioral conformity without slack, escape, or exception. The space movement advertises built-in liberation—“Mars is harsh,” Zubrin writes, “and the people who settle it will need not only technology, but the scientific outlook, creativity, and free-thinking individualistic inventiveness that stand behind it”28—but free-thinking individualism would be as little welcome on Mars as it is today aboard a 747 in flight or Trident submarine at depth, and for the same reason. Wherever survival depends on the continuous functioning of thousands of high-strung gadgets, you’re either a conformist or a mortal threat: no prophets, please. zubrin decries our Earthly regulations, but what degree of personal liberty would obtain in a Mars colony, a nuclear-powered warren of domes and tunnels eternally besieged by near vacuum? Anyone who kicked too hard against life as a libertarian Sim would be escorted firmly but swiftly to the nearest airlock—sans spacesuit. They would have to be.
Perhaps that’s part of the attraction; a certain authoritarian testiness is already ominously apparent in some would-be space pioneers. zubrin once threatened to sue physicist Robert Park if Park called him “messianic” in print—and Park refrained.29 Free speech? This way to the airlock, unbeliever.
And finally, although it’s a small thing, maybe, compared to the rest, it bothers me that space flight impoverishes the imagination. Science fiction excites and, to some extent, satisfies our lust for alien otherness, but actual space flight only teases and exhausts that delicious desire. The uncanny recedes from our physical approach, dies at our touch. The Moon swiftly became banal under the boots and trash bags30 of the sensible Apollo men; Mars would do the same. Any place would do the same. When we cry for the Moon, the last thing we really want is the actual Moon—an infinity of cinders.
If space colonization is not our divine destiny, what is? Life on Earth. Loving more, seeing more, giving more, feeling more, using less. There is plenty to do. The fantasy of going higher, farther, and faster with jets a-blaze, becoming godlike by flying to “the stars,” is a mechanical parody of that inner transformation which is our only real hope, though far more arduous.
The would-be pioneers of Mars sing that they will “leave Terra behind,” but they won’t. Only a few hasty rocket riders will ever attain that pathological state of detachment even temporarily. Part of what stunts and narrows the space movement, what makes it so spiritually small despite its grandiloquent phrases about “reaching for the stars,” is that it scorns stability, persistence, dependence, home places. But this dirt and water, this air, these clouds and rains, these bugs and germs are ours, and we are theirs. This is where we shall live, die, and work out what it is to be human. Everything that the space movement seeks on the Moon or Mars, among the asteroids, around other stars—transcendence, renewal, heroism—isn’t there. Not a chance. It’s here or nowhere.
Yesterday I went walking in the woods, starting from my front door. Frogs fled my feet in little ballistic arcs, ferns breathed a delicious spicy odor, hemlocks spread their shadowy branches. I crossed the drainage of a nearby swamp, boots sinking in muck, then sweated up a nameless hillside with twigs snapping underfoot.
I didn’t find God, but I think I was looking in the right place.
(1) President John F. Kennedy’s Address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Effort, September 2, 1962. http://www.cs.umb.edu/~rwhealan/jfk/j09262.htm (accessed
Aug. 2, 2005).
(2) K. E. Tsiolkovsky, “Investigation of World Spaces by Reactive Vehicles,” in K. E. Tsiolkovsky: Selected Works, V. N. Sokolsky and A. A. Blagonravov eds., trans. G. Yankosvsky (Moscow: Mir Publishers, 1968), 27.
(3) Charles Lindbergh, “Foreword,” in Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys, by Michael Collins (New York: Ballantine Books, 974), p. xiii.
(4) Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner, The Case for Mars (New York: Touchstone, 996), p. 248.
(5) Joseph Kahn, “Chinese Space Effort Challenges Russia and US,” New York Times, Jan. 3, 200.
(6) Lyrics to “Pioneers of Mars,” by Karen Linsley and Lloyd Landa. The song can be heard in full at the Prometheus Music website, http://www.prometheus-music.com/rea laudio/The_Pioneers_of_Mars.ram.
(7) “NASA Tests Computer ‘Mobile Agents’ and Helper Robot at Ames,” NASA Ames Research Center, March 30, 2004, http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2004/04_2AR.html (accessed Nov. 20, 2005).
(8) Clancey, William J., “A Framework for Analog Studies of Mars Surface Operations Using the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station,” http://homepage.mac.com/ wjclancey/~WJClancey/Clancey_MarsSoc2000.pdf (accessed March 2, 2007).
(9) Compare NASA’s design for its Ares V booster (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/545main_8-40599-CaLV.pdf, accessed March 2, 2007) to Zubrin’s design for an Ares booster in The Case for Mars (cover painting and p. 62).
(10) NASA, “Columbia Anthem Gets Grammy Nod,” December 5, 200, http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/labelle_grammy.html (accessed March 8, 2007).
(11) Robert Roy Britt, “Song Commemorating Spaceflight Brought Buzz Aldrin to Tears,” Astronotes, Space.com, http://www.space.com/astronotes/astronotes_feb2-feb14-
03.html (accessed July 24, 2005).
(12) “Columbia Anthem Gets Grammy Nod,” NASA; see footnote 10.
(13) Robert Zubrin, “Songs for Space,” essay in insert booklet of audio CD To Touch the Stars (Prometheus, 994).
(14) “Move to new planet, says Hawking,” BBC News, Nov. 0, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/658855.stm (accessed January 27, 2007).
(15) Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner, The Case for Mars, 239.
(16) Robert Zubrin, “The Significance of the Martian Frontier.” Essay available on website of National Space Society, http://www.nss.org/settlement/mars/zubrin-frontier.html (accessed July 7, 2007), according to which it was originally published in Ad Astra(the bimonthly journal of the National Space Society), September/October 1994. A polished version of this text is incorporated into Zubrin’s The Case for Mars (1996). A slightly different version of the text, undated but apparently written in 1993(the opening sentence begins “It was 100 years ago, 1893”), can be accessed at http://spot.colorado.edu/~marscase/cfm/articles/frontier.html (accessed July 7, 2007). The word “worldwide,” quoted here, is from the 1993 version; in the version on the NSS website, this word is is replaced with “entire.”
(21) The Case for Mars, 238–39.
(22) Robert Zubrin, “Never Ending Renaissance,” http://spot.colorado.edu/~marscase/cfm/articles/frontier.html (accessed July 7, 2007).
(23) Andrew J. Dunar and Stephen P. Waring, Power to Explore—History of Marshall Space Flight Center 1960–990, NASA http://history.msfc.nasa.gov/book/chptten.pdf (accessed March 6, 2007).
(24) Charles Seife, “Columbia Disaster Underscores The Risky Nature of Risk Analysis,” Science 4 February 2003299: 001-002.
(25) “NASA: Shuttle Death Risk Is In 00,” CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/26/tech/main7550.shtml (accessed July 7, 2007).
(26) http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0608/cevorion/ (accessed March 6, 2007).
(27) Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970), commentary on plates 4 and 5.
(28) Robert Zubrin, “The Significance of the Martian Frontier,” p. 9. Essay available on website of National Space Society, http://www.nss.org/settlement/mars/zubrin-frontier.html (accessed July 7, 2007). Originally published in Ad Astra, September/October
(29) Tom McNichol, “The New Red Menace,” Wired, July 200. At http://www.wired.com/ wired/archive/9.07/mars.html (accessed Oct. 8, 2005).
(30) Bags of trash were put out of the lunar module before takeoff from the moon: http://www.history.nasa.gov/alsj/a4/a4.evaprep.html (accessed March 9, 2007). The trash may have included dirty diapers: NASA, Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Procedures, 97, at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a5/a5lsp.pdf (accessed March 9, 2007).