The president thinks we should go straight to Mars. This moon stuff has all been done before, so it isn’t necessary, says our infallible, omnipotent leader. Now anyone who followed the first Lunar Landing 50 years ago knows how perilously close to disaster that mission came, as was proved in the Apollo 13 flight. Going to Mars without sufficient research, development, and planning would likely result in a disaster that would make the Challenger “mishap” pale in comparison. It will take nearly a year for a current rocket-boosted spacecraft to get to Mars, and nearly a year for that spacecraft to return, and there would be the wait for the two planets to realign before the return trip could begin, so there has to be a sustainable habitat for the crew of said craft to live in for, conservatively speaking, three years mission duration. Over 1,000 days in which even a minor malfunction or system failure could cost the lives of every crew member who would be so far away that a rescue mission couldn’t even get off the ground.