Letters to the Editor: ‘Beat China’ is a bad justification for Mars exploration

A dusty expanse of reddish soil on a hill
The surface of Mars is seen from a height of 33 feet in a photo captured by the Ingenuity Mars helicopter in 2021.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: The print version of the op-ed article calling on Congress to fund a mission to bring Mars rocks back to Earth says this would “help us beat China and send humans into space.”

I read this article with interest because I wanted to know how Mars rocks could help us “beat China.” The article made a case for congressional funding, but the only reference to “beating China” was about reaffirming U.S. leadership in the robotic sciences.

Such casual and empty use of the phrase “beat China” does nothing for public discourse, conveys the sense that we are at war with China and contributes to anti-Asian hate.


I urge The Times to use such phrases with more care.

Heidi Hu, Los Angeles


To the editor: With all the problems facing this planet and our $34.5-trillion national debt, why spend billions of dollars sending people and robots to the moon and Mars?

That money could be better spent helping the poor here and around the world. It could be spent fighting and preparing for climate change. It could be spent making college education less expensive, or free like it was for me in the 1960s. It could improve our healthcare “system.” It could be spent fixing our decaying roads.

I can go on and on. Redirect that money and brain power where it will have an impact on the people living on Earth.

Herb Adelman, Del Mar