Can We Still Go to Mars?

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Marina Koren is a 2008 graduate of Verona High School. For several years, she has been a staff writer at the magazine The Atlantic, where she covers space exploration. In a new story, Koren says that, while a NASA rover is now on its way to Mars, the pandemic is making a manned journey feel further away than ever:

An Armstrong moment on Mars has always been far from guaranteed, but now, in this particular year of American history, that future feels further away than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has diminished all sorts of human endeavors, including space exploration, one of our dreamiest ambitions. “No virus is stronger than the human desire to explore,” the NASA administrator declared in April, when coronavirus cases were rising fast and the country’s response was already stumbling. Even in times like these, the leader of the only organization to send humans to another world has to believe that’s still possible, and on some level, he’s right; COVID-19 will not, in the end, stop humankind from someday reaching Mars. On the timelines required for space travel, a year, or more, of slowed activity counts as a small setback. But the exigencies of the pandemic still could influence America’s ambitions in the cosmos: The national impulse to reach for other worlds might be eroding.

You can read the full story in The Atlantic here.

Photo by Kevin Buman on Unsplash

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