The Right-Wing Mars Guru: Is Robert Zubrin America’s Best Hope for Colonizing the Red Planet? Motherboard

When you think of people who urge humanity to go to the stars, you tend to think of cheery liberal icons like Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson. But Newt Gingrich had to get his starry-eyed and much-ridiculed ideas about space exploration from someone, and it certainly wasn’t any of those guys.
Enter Robert Zubrin, the right-wing bulldog for space travel. Trained as a nuclear engineer, he’s spent more than 20 years pushing for the colonization of Mars through books like 1996’s The Case for Mars; advocacy through the Mars Society, which he founded and leads; and relationships with people like Newt Gingrich, whom he advised on space policy in the 1990s. He’s not a hardcore Republican ideologue by any means, but he regularly rails against environmentalists for being “anti-growth”, writes for the National Review, and proudly wears his American nationalism.
Zubrin, who just published a new e-book called Mars Direct: Space Exploration, the Red Planet, and the Human Future, spoke to me by telephone from his home in Colorado about why to go to Mars, how we might get there, and why it will be important to defend private property and entrepreneurship on the fourth planet from the sun.