“It will be done, regardless of U.S. leadership,” Aldrin said of an eventual manned Mars landing. “The real question is: How long does the exceptionalism of the United States last?”Even Buzz seems confused by American exceptionalism which isn't about performance. It's about an ideology. Consent of the governed. Free people. Not subjects. Not serfs.
This is the missing ingredient in all discussions of mars missions. The people risking their lives to expand the economic sphere of humanity should be free people with resources to pursue their dreams. They can't be the wimps we're producing today in our legalistic can't do society. They must make their claims.
They must build tractors out of dirt.