Friday (February 19th): Mars Race

Steve Jurczyk

Name? Steve Jurczyk

Westphalian identity? United States American

Age? 58

Why is he in the news? As Acting Administrator of NASA, Jurczyk gets the credit for landing the robotic explorer ‘Perseverance’ on Mars. 

Why do we care? The race to Mars is on and everyone wants a piece of the action. Perseverance landed on Mars weeks after ‘Hope’ and ‘Tianwen-1’ entered Mars’ orbit; launched there by the UAE and China.. Moreover, Perseverance’s plan for Mars involves immense cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency to successfully bring Mars rocks back to Earth. 

Why should you care? Because we are largely destroying the Earth we currently live on with no current ‘Planet B?’ Because one day you could potentially pay Elon Musk to take you to Mars so it might be nice to know what you’re getting yourself into? Plenty of reasons to care about this in the long run but in the short term, you should care 3/10 because Steve Jurczyk is not impacting your life too much right now…

Who else cares? Russia, China, the EU, India but we would like to highlight Mohammad bin Zayid the crown prince of Abhu Dhabi. The UAE is the first Arab nation to undertake an interplanetary mission and takes huge pride in it. As the newcomer in the round of nations aiming at Mars they are definitely the underdog, but driven by national pride and inexhaustible money supplies. 

Any further comments?  With six orbiting satellites and the three latest robots, the red planet is getting a bit crowded both on the ground and in orbit. The question is, if there are so many nations involved, will they work together in the name of science or will national interest prevail during potential conflict? Currently space races are mostly about national pride, but one nation already has a SPACE FORCE to preserve its interest…and then we also have private entities…Are we looking at another arms race?

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis