1)Discover new forms of life
There have been many instances where we believed there were signs of life on Mars.
• The face seen in photographs of the surface of Mars
• Discovery of Ice water on Mars
• Possible Discovery of Flowing Water by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
The best way to confirm the presence of water, which is a key precursor for life, is to send humans to Mars.
2) Valuable Natural Resources
TMars has several elements that are the raw materials that could be harvested and utilized to support and expand human exploration of Mars and beyond. We could essentially gather materials, construct space vehicles, and launch to other planetary bodies from the surface of Mars without wasting time and resources here on Earth. For example, Methane, which is found in high abundance on Mars, could be used to construct plastic based structures
3) Pushing the limits of our technological capabilities
Many of the advancements we have today were the byproducts of not-so-favorable undertakings. Although the missions carried out by NASA since Alan Shepard first went into orbit may not seem important right now, you can thank NASA for:
• Automated Blood Pressure Readings
• Scratch Resistant Lenses
• Shoe Insoles
• Cordless Tools
4) Safety Planet in case we destroy this one
Some day the global population may not be able to survive off the resources here on Earth. We also have a large global stockpile of nuclear weapons that could destroy
the planet multiple times.
Then there is threat of asteroids hitting the planet and causing a worldwide catastrophe. This may seem like complete science fiction, but according to a press release by the Near Earth Tracking Project “An asteroid large enough to wipe out France hurtled past the Earth at a distance of a half-million miles just days after scientists spotted it. The asteroid, dubbed 2001 YB5, came within 520,000 miles of Earth on Monday, approximately twice the distance of the moon.“. That asteroid could have caused a global catastrophe and there was very little we could have done to change that.
A user posted an interesting scenario in a comment on one of NASA’s blogs proposing that the lost civilization of Atlantis could have possibly been on Mars, therefore we have already destroyed one perfectly suitable planet in the past. While this is unlikely, it is an interesting allusion of how advanced human civilizations have disappeared in the past.
5) Stepping stone for exploring the universe
For NASA to be relevant to the needs of society they must constantly be making advancements that “amaze” the average citizen. Nobody wants to see that the pinnacle of NASA’s capability stops at orbiting the Earth. After all who else is going to inspire the future generations of engineers to dream the unimaginable. The longer NASA waits to embark on this bold journey, the more likely someone else will beat them there…