America should send NASA astronauts to explore Mars. Such a space mission would not only be possible but also have many economic and social benefits for the United States, writes Loren Thompson in Forbes. Mars is the only other planet that is the most similar to Earth and could theoretically be colonized. In addition, says Thompson, sending a mission to Mars would restore America's sense of destiny and greatness, which it achieved during the Moon walking. A journey to Mars would also create a boon in U.S. technology, innovation and job creation.
America shouldn't send a mission to explore Mars. Not only would such a mission would be extraordinarily expensive and very risky, the benefits it would bring are unclear, writes Rebecca Boyle in FiveThirtyEight. While Mars exploration has occurred with robotics since the 1960s, no government has succeeded in actually producing or sending a rocket with humans to the planet. High costs and risks are only part of the reason, says Boyle, who claims that more than one country's space agency would have to be involved, which would mean slow progress.