Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Apollo 8 astronauts on-board the first manned spaceflight beyond Earth's orbit 50 years ago today have called plans to put humans on Mars 'stupid', 'nonsense' and 'almost ridiculous'

By Joe Pinkstone

Daily Mail
December 24, 2018

One of the first people to orbit the moon has called plans to put humans on Mars 'almost ridiculous' and 'stupid'.

Bill Anders was a lunar module pilot on-board the Apollo 8 mission which orbited the moon on Christmas Eve 1968.

He made the startling statements in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

He said unmanned, cheaper missions to the red planet make sense but there is no logic or public desire to see an astronaut walk on our nearest celestial neighbour.

Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman added that plans from billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to colonise Mars are 'nonsense'.

Anders is an outspoken critic of NASA and said: 'What's the imperative? What's pushing us to go to Mars?' he said, adding 'I don't think the public is that interested.'

'Nasa couldn't get to the Moon today.

'They're so ossified... Nasa has turned into a jobs programme... many of the centres are mainly interested in keeping busy and you don't see the public support other than they get the workers their pay and their congressmen get re-elected.'

The 85-year-old retired astronaut also criticised the near-Earth orbit missions following the Apollo missions.

'I think the space shuttle was a serious error. It hardly did anything except have an exciting launch, but it never lived up to its promise,' he said.

'The space station is only there because you had a shuttle, and vice-versa. Nasa really mismanaged the manned programme since the late lunar landings.'

Apollo 8 was a landmark mission which saw Anders and fellow astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell spend 20 hours in space.

The crew completed ten orbits of the moon in this time.

It's a view that might seem surprising from a proud patriot and servant of the US military, who still remembers his own mission to space with great fondness. It's also a view that Anders accepts doesn't sit too well with some in the space community.

'I think NASA's lucky to have what they've got - which is still hard, in my mind, to justify. I'm not a very popular guy at Nasa for saying that, but that's what I think,' he added.

Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman, is less cynical of NASA's plans than his colleague and believes the agency should pursue further understanding of our solar stem.

He is, however, of a similar opinion to Anders when it comes to putting people on Mars.

'I'm not as critical of NASA as Bill is,' he told 5 Live. 'I firmly believe that we need robust exploration of our Solar System and I think man is part of that.

'I do think there's a lot of hype about Mars that is nonsense. Musk and Bezos, they're talking about putting colonies on Mars, that's nonsense.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill Anders’ views have been my views all along.

Colonize Mars? What for? Elon Musk must have smoked too much pot while watching all those Star Trek movies. That’s a one-way mission. Before they all croak of old age or sickness, what are those colonists going to do? Grow vegetables and collect rocks? One thing is for sure … there is no Disney World or any grass for a golf course on Mars.


bob walsh said...

Until (if) there is a much superior propulsion system developed manned flights to or exploration-colonization of Mars is a pipe dream. Elon Musk might be brilliant, but a lot of really smart people are also unrealistic or outright nuts.

Dave Freeman said...

Brilliance and wisdom are distinct traits which don't always go hand in hand