Despite billionaires’ ambition to colonize Mars in their lifetime, one astronaut doubts that will happen in the next century.
“I frankly think going to Mars is going to be a lot harder than what NASA is admitting or Elon Musk is admitting,” former astronaut Bill Anders said Friday on the 118th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight.
“We weren’t designed to endure the hardships of zero-G for long,” said Anders, an East County High School graduate who flew with Frank Borman and Jim Lovell. Apollo 8, first mission to circumnavigate the Moon. “We are not designed to take in space radiation, that is my specialty. And I think NASA missed (it). So I’m not sure we’re going to send humans to Mars. Maybe 100 years from now.”
Anders, 88, is one of the engineers and employees of San Diego Air and Space Museum at Balboa Park to mark the aeronautical milestone of 1903 when Orville Wright took off one clear morning aboard the Wright Flyer in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The museum paid its respects at 10 a.m. by quickly triggering an accurate reproduction of the Orville and Wilbur Wright brothers’ engines, creating a loud sputtering sound.
The reconstruction was built over a two-and-a-half year period beginning in 1993 by museum volunteers Bud Monfort, Ted Tomesella and Lee Lowery, all of whom have since passed away.
Robert McClure, a volunteer mechanic for the museum, told two dozen spectators that a lot of maintenance was needed to keep it up and running for the annual celebration. If you run it for too long, it will overheat and burn the exhaust valve.
Regarding the Wright engine, Anders said: “That old, 12hp… awesome engine compared to this technology is amazing.”
Technology will continue to thrive year after year “exponentially,” says Anders, who iconic “Earthrise” photo from Apollo 8, reread the first line of Genesis on Christmas Eve 1968 and later founded the Heritage Flight Museum in Washington state, his summer home.
He noted that the need for a major government-backed program like Apollo is being replaced by wealthy, private citizens, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and private companies, competing to into space. (Museum Honored Bezos in November 2019.)
Anders, who grew up with his wife in La Mesa and Lemon Grove, said: “Although I am pessimistic about how far we will be from our home planet, I am an old man. “We always thought that nothing would change much, but maybe they will be able to do it.”
But the moon is a different story.
Anders predicts that within 20 years, research facilities will be on the surface of the Moon – without NASA’s leadership.
Jim Kidrick, the museum’s president and chief executive officer, is more optimistic about deep space travel.
“First, we’re going back to the moon,” Kidrick said. “We will prove that we can make it popular. Learning to live in deep space is absolutely crucial.”
He cited the human presence in low Earth orbit with the International Space Station. But the retired Navy commander said: “We waited there a little longer than we planned.”
People are excited about eventually going to Mars and beyond, he said.
“Who knows? Is that five-year Star Trek mission going to keep going because it’s really unlimited?” Kidrick told the Times of San Diego. “Nobody knows, and that’s pretty interesting. .”
Kidrick added: “Who would have thought we would have a space race of people within the boundaries of our country? When you think about what Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos did, [Richard] Branson has dabbled in tourism a bit, and NASA is trying to catch up in a weird way. ”
The key to success in the space will be reusable modules, Kidrick said.
“But you think about it. It all started with that engine right there. That’s what’s amazing,” the museum president said as the plane flew over.
He’s been to Kitty Hawk – “to a great extent” – and says it must be an exciting place to be that day.
“But it was done without fanfare, very quietly, a couple of brothers made bicycles,” Kidrick said.
Mechanic McClure had assumed the engine would be back up and running by Friday morning.
The presentation honors innovation, engineering, technology and aviation excellence exhibited by Orville and Wilbur Wright, charter members of the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, a museum statement said. .
“It was amazing how (the Wright brothers) thought it was possible and did it,” McClure said. Charley Taylor, their mechanic/mechanic who designed and built it, is an absolute genius. ”
When asked what the copying engine surprised him, McClure said after the presentation: “It works.”
“Now I can enjoy Christmas.”
https://timesofsandiego.com/tech/2021/12/17/apollo-legends-memo-to-musk-bezos-dont-expect-mars-colony-for-a-century/ Apollo Legends Memo to Musk, Bezos: Don’t Expect a Mars Colony in a Century