July 13, 2011
In the context of Dr. Zubrin suddenly deciding that super-mega-heavy lifter is not necessary to reach Mars after all, Clark Lindsey remarked on May 23:
It's long been clear that the one and only thing that matters to Mr. Zubrin is to get a human mission heading to Mars as soon as possible. Pursuing advances such as building up a commercial human spaceflight industry that provides low cost access to orbit, developing an in-space infrastructure, using the Moon to learn how to do in situ resource utilization, finding ways to deal with human factor issues (particularly radiation & microgravity health effects), etc. is all a waste of time to him. However, as seen by his recent WSJ essay on a Mars mission with the commercial SpaceX Falcon Heavy, he is quick to take advantage of such advances when they are near at hand. I'm sure that once propellant depots and other such systems are in operation, he will no doubt incorporate them as well into new Mars mission schemes. And the abuse he hurled at such efforts and at the people who supported them will be long forgotten.
This flexibility undermines Dr. Zubrin's attacks on VASIMR. If VASIMR suddenly works, no doubt it's going to be a centerpiece of then-in-vogue Mars Drirect Mk.XXIII architecture. Not that I'm a fan of plasma-electric propulsion with non-existing magnets, but just saying.
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