Some time ago on this board, MaDeR has made the following argument against a Mars mission:
(1) Would the mission really fly with inadequate hardware and fail catastrophically? If so, what would be the implications for manned spaceflight?
(2) Would the insufficient reliability problem be found instead during the preparation phase, leading to cost overruns and delays? Would the program run to completion anyway, or be canceled?
(3) Or, do you believe that this would not be a problem, because we had better hardware back then, and the mission design was robust enough to allow for failures? Such argument can be especially made in favor of von Braun's plan, because it was both based on tested hardware (Saturn) and massively overcommitting resources (tens of people to Mars!).
My main point here is that people frequently lament that we are in a timeline where Mars mission was never funded -- but I can envision timelines where Mars mission was funded and fizzled (or failed en route) due to insufficient technology, leading to the end of spaceflight program. Obviously, our timeline is better than that! So I do not complain.
Okay. If you have any thoughts on the matter, the
floorthread is open.