Report on human body's problems in space should stimulate the search for solutions, not impede it
A new report says that human beings are not physically capable of living in space, bolstering the argument that exploration of other planets had best be done by robots.
But there's really nothing new in the report- and nothing that would lead to the conclusion that we cannot be made so. We've known about all the health hazards the report cites for some time, and it's clear as crystal that we not only should not but cannot, for example, send human beings to Mars before we can effectively protect them against the radiation they would encounter.
But the way to do that is to work on ways of doing so. The same is true of all of the other problems the report cites. And as I've argued repeatedly in this blog, that very effort- together with a crash program to send a manned mission to Mars ASAP (that is, as soon as the practical problems can we worked out) would, on the example of Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, be one of the most economical and practical ways to get the economy moving again big time. Not only would it revive the economy instantly in several states heavily hit by the death of the American manned space program, but the growth it would stimulate in the economy- and the resultant increase in tax revenues- would likely follow the pattern established by the moon program: it would not only pay for itself in the long run, but manifest economic benefits exponentially greater than its initial cost!
But to get there, we have to try. And far from being an argument against the effort, the problems cited by the report- which again, are nothing new; we've known about them for some time- simply provide an additional and compelling reason to get crackin', as the pistachio folks say.
The sooner we start the research, the sooner the jobs return- and the sooner we get the economy back on track.