Mars is Panned


“Well, let’s see now … That was a small step for Neil Armstrong,” wrote Tom Wolfe in last Sunday’s New York Times,
giant leap for mankind and a real knee in the groin for NASA.” He was
referring to the missed opportunity to take the space program to the
next logical step–manned travel to Mars. He continued:

“NASA had long since been all set to send men to Mars, starting with
manned fly-bys of the planet in 1975. Wernher von Braun, the German
rocket scientist who had come over to our side in 1945, had been
designing a manned Mars project from the moment he arrived. In 1952, he
published his Mars Project as a series of graphic articles called ‘Man
Will Conquer Space Soon’ in Collier’s magazine. It created a sensation.”

space politics prevailed and Mars was kicked aside like some old
pebble, remaining but a dream and candy bar. I’ve been thinking a lot
about what might have been if we went to Mars, and what has been.
Towards this end I offer one of the classic Mars/Earth-nexus fantasies
which pits Santa and Martians in mortal combat and perilous pursuit.
Thanks to the shortsightedness of our political leaders, we’ll never
really know the outcome of this mythic event.

Do you have any preference for space travel to Mars or elsewhere?





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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.