Philosophical Society of Washington

A Manned Mission to the Mysterious Moons of Mars

S. Fred Singer
Science & Environmental Policy Project

2153rd Meeting Abstract
Friday, November 22, 2002 at 8:15 PM


The International Space Station project has consumed on the order of $100 billion, producing technical advances but only meager scientific returns. However, it can provide the basis for manned exploration of Mars, with huge scientific returns for only a modest additional cost. The most effective project is to place a manned laboratory on the Martian moon Deimos and explore the Mars surface and subsurface through robotic means. Returning samples to the Deimos laboratory for analysis allows prompt further exploration of promising locations. Augmenting the mission with manned sorties to Mars and to the moon Phobos would add considerably to planetary science and also satisfy those who look forward to future human habitation of Mars. The origin of the Martian moons, discovered at the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC in 1877, is still a puzzle but the key question certainly is the existence of life on Mars.

About the Author:

S. Fred Singer is director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project in Arlington Virginia, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. A pioneer in space research, he developed instruments for remote sensing of atmospheric parameters and was the first director of the US Weather Satellite Service (now part of NOAA). More recently, he served as principal investigator on the LDEF interplanetary dust experiment, which discovered the existence of artificial debris clouds in earth orbit. He devised the cosmic-ray method of dating meteorite ages [featured in Scientific American] and published early calculations on the orbit evolution and origin of the Martian moons.

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