Red China on the red planet?

On Tuesday, I wrote about a the possibility of a manned mission to Mars (http://community.plantservices.com/content/35-million-miles-mars). A lot has happened since. No, we haven't landed there yet, but the space shuttle Endeavour has landed for the last time, and the Washington Times has declared the U.S. space program is dead (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/31/exploring-frontiers-of-science/).

The Washington Times is convinced that this generation of Americans has given up on space exploration and that China is on the verge of beating us to Mars.

Forget that rovers landed on the red planet seven years ago, and they’ve been investigating the surface and atmosphere in great detail. And forget that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, www.nasa.gov) isn’t closing shop any time soon. It’s not a race. And by the time we start sending manned missions to other planets, shouldn’t we really be working cooperatively as one planet ourselves?

Is the rest of the world worried that China is going to conquer Mars to colonize it, overpopulate it, enact Communist law, and proliferate inferior industrial safety standards?

In fact, the Chinese government really needs to correct its industrial safety issues here on Earth (http://community.plantservices.com/content/picture-safety) before it should even consider taking the show on the road, let alone in the air.

If we decide it’s important for a human to walk on Mars, then I suspect one will. Space exploration is alive and well, and perhaps it will motivate an entirely new generation to enter science, technology, engineering and math, just like it did in the 1950s and 1960s.