War of the Worlds – Devising the Zoning Plan for Invading Mars

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, PhD. 

MarsSpaceX plans to land an unmanned capsule on Mars a few years from now (1).  The ultimate goal is planetary colonization and missions with humans might follow as early as the middle of the next decade.  If all goes as planned the company could be hard at work on the red planet 10 years or more ahead of NASA.

A few technical details need to be clarified.  To begin, NASA officials may wish to establish precisely where on the Mars the SpaceX engineers intend to land.  This is important because The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 requires nations exploring the solar system to adopt reliable measures to avoid contaminating them.  NASA has a formal program to develop and implement protection measures to conform to this agreement (2).  How the proposed SpaceX mission(s)…

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