PITTSBURGH — The late astronomer Carl Sagan once remarked that “for 99 percent of our time on Earth, we’ve been vagabonds, and the next place we need to visit is Mars.”
It is probably inevitable that one day man will try to reach the Red Planet, which soars in the heavens more than 50 million miles away. It will be a huge undertaking, and that is almost certainly an understatement – it will take nine months to get there and nine months to get back. For this investment of time, the crew would probably want to stay longer than a day or two. Establishing a permanent colony would be a colossal undertaking.