In December, the Deputy head of management of scientific missions, space Agency NASA Thomas Zurbuchen visited with working visit to Boston University, where he made a presentation and answered several questions about when people will be able to go to Mars, about its relationship to an emerging field of space tourism, and the biggest question of the Universe, who are trying to solve all the scientists of the planet.
Among all the greatest mysteries of the Universe, which one do you wish to answer?
Is There life beyond Earth? I think there are. But we have no evidence. To explain this, I think, be that we seriously underestimated the nature. A few years ago we were not sure whether to be water or complex molecules beyond Earth. But it turns out that the answer to these questions was much easier than expected. We find them everywhere, even in the polar craters of the planet . The process of origin of life was much easier than we thought. So there is a high probability that it's available somewhere else.
you do in space was not. Ever wanted to try?
If space travel would be as simple as a fly, for example, in Paris, I would fly. Right now. But it's impossible. I can't afford to spend weeks and months required for space flight training and preparation.
What do you think about the idea of space tourism?
I think it's amazing. Everyone who went into space agree that this is a unique and very important experience. I compare that with climbing to the top of very high mountains. Only the highest mountains, conquered the thousands of brave men, and flew into space only about 500 people. How else can we offer you the opportunity to get this unique experience to others, if not with the help of space tourism?
If to continue the theme about the uniqueness of the experience... NASA plans to send explorers to Mars. Many space missions that have already been and still will be – they all allow you to accumulate important experience and knowledge that will be useful in this journey. In your opinion, when people are ready for it?
I would say that about the middle of 2030-ies. However, a lot of work in order to make this work. You need to send more people into low earth orbit, to eventually answer an important question: are we able to survive in deep space?
What prevents to answer this question now?
Cosmic radiation, much more intense with distance from protecting the Earth magnetic field. The further we move away from Earth, the more difficult becomes the task of saving astronauts ' lives, as more time is required in order to get to a safe place. Hours turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. We need to develop a system of full autonomy. With distances increases the complexity of communication because the speed of light is finite. If we are talking about work on Mars, we need full autonomy. From the control centre on Earth is pretty easy to control the landing machine on the moon, because we shared not so long distance. With Mars it could not happen.
As in your opinion will look the first expedition to Mars?
The Crew of the first manned mission to Mars will be small, since the greater the mission, the harder it is to implement from a technical point of view. I think that the crew will consist of four to eight people, but not twenty. Send too small a crew of one or two people is also not an option – it would be too hard to solve any problems that may arise during the execution of the mission.
You said that diversity is very important
No personal diversity is impossible to achieve true innovation. Many studies of the relationship between personality diversity and superiority in innovation ideas. If you need a team that can represent the future better than anyone else, you need people with different culture, race, gender. At the same time groupthink is hardly ideal tool to create superiority. This approach is ideal if you need to make quick solution to the problem, issue, problem, but not excellent.
Space exploration will open to mankind the way to life beyond Earth?
No Matter what the answer to this question, it is important that we have kept our home planet habitable. To think otherwise is dangerous. Sometimes I'm inspired by the idea of the possibility of terraforming other planets, but today the Land — our only home. Fanaticism is born in the minds of the people, leads us to a global catastrophe and you need to make great efforts to preserve ourselves as a species.
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