Bill Anders, one of the first men to orbit the Moon has said that it is “stupid” to plan human missions to Mars. Lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth’s orbit, said sending crews to Mars was “almost ridiculous”.
Anders’ comment came as NASA prepares new human missions to the moon. It also wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars. NASA was approached for a response to Anders’ comments but has not responded.
Anders, 85, said he is a “big supporter” of the “remarkable” unmanned programmes, “mainly because they’re much cheaper”. But he added the public support simply was not there to fund vastly more expensive human missions. “What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars?” he said, adding “I don’t think the public is that interested”.