Could International Cooperation Reinforce the Case for Mars
SEP/division of SNECMA, 10 Rue Adolphe Vard, 27300 - Vernon, France. Rheidmann@aol.com
We need to raise the public interest and make Mars exploration politically desirable. How could International Cooperation help?
When thinking about the future of humankind, people are mainly concerned by global threats: pollution, resources shortage, illnesses, so, a project pushing advancement in related fields of science and technology should naturally be reinforced if globally shared.
People also feel uncomfortable about the growing gap between rich and poor counties; in this sense, a project presented as a means of cooperation is reassuring, and so politically sound.
Technological strength will be more and more viewed as a major factor of competitiveness among nations; know-how improvement and equalization offered by such a program should be perceived by governments as a valuable political opportunity for development and peace.
is necessary to put Mars exploration in the perspective of mankind spreading
out of its endangered birthplace; this can only make sense on a global basis.
How to avoid shortcomings?
Unreliable political commitments: on such a long-term and mediatically fragile enterprise, it is recommended that cooperation be attempted only between politically stable and economically reliable partners, based on a treaty.
Confusing and costly management: to limit overcosts and dilution of decisions, it is necessary to set a centralized international management, politically empowered.
Inefficient industrial organization: development should be in the hands of an international industrial organization based on purely technical and contractual rules (as was done with Ariane).
Can people trust us anymore about costs and schedule? Yes, if we donŐt oversell the program, really commit industry, and embark on time (based availability of resources and of efficient technologies). Projects should be reviewed by an independent international steering organization.
Last but not least: are we really prepared?