Scientists suggest one-way mission to Mars

by Anonymous on Nov. 15th, 2010

The first Martian explorers could remain permanently: "Hey, pal, can I borrow a cup of Tang?"
The first Martian explorers could remain permanently: "Hey, pal, can I borrow a cup of Tang?"Courtesy NASA
In the spirit of bold adventure and practical economics, two scientist are proposing the first manned mission to Mars be a one-way trip. It would be cheaper and could happen much sooner than a round-trip journey. The suggestion appears in the the Journal of Cosmology. NASA's not so enthusiastic about it, but I think it's a great idea. I even know a couple people I'd like to volunteer.

Star Tribune story

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

MicroScribe's picture

I love the idea of a one-way trip to Mars, probably because I read a really good science fiction book about terraforming Mars. It's called "Red Mars," and is the first book in the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson,

posted on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 9:10pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

And, of course, there's Mary Roach's latest book, "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void." (Mary Roach is, in my opinion, the best pop science writer out there right now.)

It begins,

"To the rocket scientist, you are a problem. You are the most irritating piece of machinery he or she will ever have to deal with. You and your fluctuating metabolism, your puny memory, your frame that comes in a million different configurations. You are unpredictable. You are inconstant. You take weeks to fix. The engineer must worry about the water and oxygen and food you'll need in space, about how much extra fuel you'll need to launch your shrimp cocktail and irradiated beef tacos. A solar cell or a thruster nozzle is stable and undemanding. It does not excrete or panic or fall in love with the mission commander. It has no ego. Its structural elements don't start to break down without gravity, and it works just fine without sleep.
To me, you are the best thing to happen to rocket science. The human being is the machine that makes the whole endeavor so endlessly intriguing. To take an organism whose every feature has evolved to keep it alive and thriving in a world with oxygen, gravity, and water, to suspend that organism in the wasteland of space for a month or a year, is a preposterous but captivating undertaking. Everything one takes for granted on Earth must be rethought, relearned, rehearsed--full-grown men and women toilet-trained, a chimpanzee dressed in a flight suit and launched into orbit. An entire odd universe of mock outer space has grown up here on Earth. Capsules that never blast off; hospital wards where healthy people spend months on their backs, masquerading zero gravity; crash labs where cadavers drop to Earth in simulated splash downs."

posted on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:58am

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