It's still hard to believe (even though I lived through the Apollo days and watched a lot of it on live TV) that this stuff really happened, before the days of desktop computers, at a time when the most powerful computers in the world were less capable than the cheapest cell phone today. The guys who designed Apollo-program hardware carried slide rules. The first pocket calculators didn't appear until 1970, a year after we landed on the moon.
If you've never seen the space-program hardware in person, take a trip sometime to Washington, DC and walk through the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Take an up-close-and-personal look at the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo hardware. The Mercury capsules had bolt heads and hex nuts sticking out in the breeze. Inside the capsules: analog gauges.
|JFK inspects Friendship 7, John Glenn's Mercury capsule. Note the bolted construction.|
With the technology available today (not just computers, of course, but lightweight materials, precision manufacturing methods, etc.), there is no doubt whatsoever we could send men and women to Mars, and beyond. All we need is the determination to do it.