Why We Shouldn't Go to Mars

Someday people may walk on the planet, but not until it makes technological sense

Two centuries ago, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis to explore the new lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase," George W. Bush said, announcing his desire for a program to send men and women to Mars. "They made that journey in the spirit of discovery ... America has ventured forth into space for the same reasons."

Yet there are vital differences between Lewis and Clark's expedition and a Mars mission. First, Lewis and Clark were headed to a place amenable to life; hundreds of thousands of people were already living there. Second, Lewis and Clark were certain to...

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