Robert Zubrin is one of the most important advocates for space flight we have. His book The Case for Mars is one of the single best pieces of space-related writing I’ve found, and it makes an extremely convincing case for putting human boots on Mars. Moreover, it lays out an excellent sketch of how we might accomplish exactly that. It’s well worth your time and attention.

So I was happy to see Mr. Zubrin has written an excellent article for the next issue of Reason magazine on the topic of space flight safety. It’s available to read online. An excerpt:

Keeping astronauts safe merits significant expenditure. But how much? There is a potentially unlimited set of testing procedures, precursor missions, technological improvements, and other protective measures that could be implemented before allowing human beings to once again try flying to other worlds. Were we to adopt all of them, we would wind up with a human spaceflight program of infinite cost and zero accomplishment. In recent years, the trend has moved in precisely that direction, with NASA’s manned spaceflight effort spending more and more to accomplish less and less. If we are to achieve anything going forward, we have to find some way to strike a balance between human life and mission accomplishment.


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