This is a million-dollar question. Why in Earth would anybody want to go up there? Some would prefer to invest all those funds on earthly matters, but the fact is that space research has brought us great technical advances at home.
You may be reading this article on your mobile or tablet, for example (on an airplane, perhaps). You may be wearing cushioned sneakers, distant relatives of the ones Neil Armstrong wore to step on the moon. Maybe your granny just got her hip replaced with an ultra-lightweight prosthesis. However, there are many other reasons to conquer the Red Planet. Find some below.
One of humanity’s most important challenges is to step on Mars. After putting an astronaut into orbit and landing on the Moon, Mars seems to be closer than ever. Mars is an important alternative place to Earth, as far as life support is concerned, as it is the planet that most resembles ours in the galaxy.
We Europeans want to be main actors in this challenge, and take part in this club of excellence. Our main counterparts are the Americans, the Russians, the Chinese and the Japanese.
The very pleasure of exploration is inherent in the human beings. All great thinkers and travellers, from Galileo to Columbus, have felt the urge to discover what lies beyond the unknown.