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Red Ink Keeps U.S. Away From Red Planet

September 03, 2003

Re "Forget the Shuttle and Head for Mars" and "Time Bomb Ticks Beneath the Economy," Commentary, Aug 29: These two commentaries appearing on the same page struck a personal chord with me. I fully agree with Bruce Murray's view on the desirability of manned exploration of Mars. He might have added that there are apt to be huge benefits for the private sector and society as a result of spinoffs from government research in technology for this endeavor. Advances in computer miniaturization were greatly accelerated as a byproduct of the Apollo project to land a man on the moon in the '60s and '70s.

It has been my dream, since the 1969 moon landing, to see humans on Mars. My hopes were dimmed as the Reagan and Papa Bush administrations ran the country into trillions of dollars of debt. As Robert Reich pointed out in his commentary, deficits disappeared during the Clinton years. With surpluses on the horizon, there was a chance to pay off the national debt. A glimmer of hope for manned Mars exploration reappeared.

But now we again have unnecessary tax cuts and trillions of dollars of additional government debt into the foreseeable future. I surely will not live to see human beings on Mars.

Alan Radnitz

La Habra


Why won't those folks who use Magellan's circumnavigation of the Earth as a comparison for some other human endeavor get it right? Magellan never circumnavigated the globe. He was killed by residents of the Philippine Islands, who had enough of the abusive actions of his crew. It was only the survivors who completed the voyage.

Lyle Whited


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