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    •  
      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2010 edited
     (9065.1)
    A human mission to Mars is technologically feasible, but hugely expensive requiring enormous financial and political commitments. A creative solution to this dilemma would be a one-way human mission to Mars in place of the manned return mission that remains stuck on the drawing board. Our proposal would cut the costs several fold but ensure at the same time a continuous commitment to the exploration of Mars in particular and space in general. It would also obviate the need for years of rehabilitation for returning astronauts, which would not be an issue if the astronauts were to remain in the low-gravity environment of Mars. We envision that Mars exploration would begin and proceed for a long time on the basis of outbound journeys only. A mission to Mars could use some of the hardware that has been developed for the Moon program. One approach could be to send four astronauts initially, two on each of two space craft, each with a lander and sufficient supplies, to stake a single outpost on Mars. A one-way human mission to Mars would not be a fixed duration project as in the Apollo program, but the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet. The astronauts would be re-supplied on a periodic basis from Earth with basic necessities, but otherwise would be expected to become increasingly proficient at harvesting and utilizing resources available on Mars. Eventually the outpost would reach self-sufficiency, and then it could serve as a hub for a greatly expanded colonization program. There are many reasons why a human colony on Mars is a desirable goal, scientifically and politically. The strategy of one-way missions brings this goal within technological and financial feasibility. Nevertheless, to attain it would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.


    Complete article here.
  1.  (9065.2)
    Sounds like one of Zubrin's schemes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2010
     (9065.3)
    I like this simply because it wouldn't allow us to "give up" or "lose interest" in Mars the way we did with the Moon. Not and be able to live with ourselves, at any rate.
    •  
      CommentAuthorD.J.
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2010
     (9065.4)
    So, uh. Any volunteers?
  2.  (9065.5)
    They do have a point about colonization. You don't get very far if you're constantly returning to the home country.
  3.  (9065.6)
    It seems to me like there are about ten reasons why colonizing Mars with two people is going to be a huge waste. Does it make sense to have to send ten resupply missions when you could just bring the astronauts back?

    The temperature is going to be a constant problem, and burning atmospheric greenhouse gases is a self-defeating solution to that...then there's the whole "centuries of atmospheric remodeling before you're fully independent" part.

    They suggest it could be a "lifeboat" colony but then propose years and years of resupply missions.

    It's also strange to me that they seem totally convinced that Martian ice caves contain a bounty of oxygen sufficient to support this mission indefinitely.

    Then there's the lack of an ozone layer or magnetosphere.

    So on the Mars Mission resupply shopping list:
    -radiation shielding
    -oxygen
    -heat

    Mars seems like a non-starter to me.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2010
     (9065.7)
    Those people would very likely kill each other or themselves before too long. This would be essentially volunteering to live the rest of your life encased in utilitarian tubes and tunnels, only being able to walk outside for very limited times (due to radiation exposure) and encased inside increasingly worn down suits, with the sub-antarctic cold always creeping in at every chance. Never to breath unbottled oxygen again. Never to be able to properly treat any injuries or ailments. Never to see anyone new other than the small handful of people who also volunteered for this.

    I used to imagine I would happily volunteer for something like this, but as I've got older I've become quite fond of the open air and the company of other people. The romance of being the first corpse on Mars is no longer that appealing.
    • CommentAuthorSteadyUP
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2010
     (9065.8)
    Will this happen? Possibly. Will it be a governmental operation? No chance.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.9)
    > It seems to me like there are about ten reasons why colonizing Mars with two people is going to be a huge waste. Does it make sense to have to send ten resupply missions when you could just bring the astronauts back?

    Yes: because bringing them back implies costs like escaping Mars' gravity well (twice the escape velocity of the moon, half the escape velocity of earth ... doubling the escape velocity makes it more than twice as hard because you also have to lift extra fuel). It says,

    On the financial front, abandoning the need to send the fuel and supplies for the return journey would cut costs dramatically, arguably by about 80 percent.


    A one-way mission is easier, but sending people implies a lot of life-support payload: I see little/no advantage to sending people over sending robots. It says,

    There are several reasons that motivate the establishment of a permanent Mars colony. We are a vulnerable species ... major asteroid and comet impacts and supernova explosions ... global pandemics, nuclear or biological warfare, runaway global warming, sudden ecological collapse and supervolcanoes ... Thus, the colonization of other worlds is a must if the human species is to survive for the long term. ... In addition to offering humanity a "lifeboat" in the event of a mega-catastrophe, ... a scientific facility on Mars might therefore be a unique opportunity to study an alien life form and a second evolutionary record, and to develop novel biotechnology therefrom. ... Mars also conceals a wealth of geological and astronomical data that is almost impossible to access from Earth using robotic probes. ... In the fullness of time, a Mars base would offer a springboard for human/robotic exploration of the outer solar system and the asteroid belt. Finally, establishing a permanent multicultural and multinational human presence on another world would have major beneficial political and social implications for Earth, and serve as a strong unifying and uplifting theme for all humanity.


    I don't see why a human scientific station would be better than robotic: for the payload it would take to send humans *with all their life-support systems* you could send instead quite the tonnage of robotics.

    I don't buy the 'springboard' idea either: moons make a better spingboard.

    And the ending, "major beneficial political and social implications for Earth, ... a strong unifying and uplifting theme for all humanity": humbug. IMO most people, for what they're worth, wouldn't care, wouldn't know, and/or would be against it. The demagoguery of that last sentence reminds me of the notion of doing human sacrifice to the Gods, for the benefit of society.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.10)
    •  
      CommentAuthorAdam
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.11)
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.12)
    There's a few people that I would like to see sent on this mission.
  4.  (9065.13)
    Yeah sign me up for Operation Shoot People At Mars Until They Stop Dying.
  5.  (9065.14)
    NOBODY READS HIS WEBSITE, NOBODY


    Nobody can comment on his website, nobody.
  6.  (9065.15)
    Nobody can comment on his website, nobody.

    That's because I hate you all.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.16)
    Oh, shit. Sorry, Warren...
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
     (9065.17)
    but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.
    a culture of safety and political correctness
    Also known as: not being fucking savages.
  7.  (9065.18)
    the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen

    Well, you can be sure, if we find native men to kill and women to rape on Mars, we'll apparently be ready.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010 edited
     (9065.19)
    "if we find native men to kill and women to rape on Mars, we'll apparently be ready."

    We've advanced since those days.

    Nowadays we'll also rape the men and kill the women.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010
     (9065.20)
    Seriously IF you want to send people to Mars this is the way to do it - because you avoid the need for an ascent phase to return people from the surface to orbit.

    That vastly cuts down the cost and complexity of the mission and lets you send probably tens or hundreds of tonnes more actual supplies and equipment.

    But sending two people is just stupid.

    What you do is you establish a permanent or semi-permanent manned base on one of the Martian moons and use it for detailed observation and to control robots on the Martian surface. You use the robots to establish a lot of the required infrastructure for the human colony (like identified ice deposits and locating lava tubes that could be cleared and used for underground habitation.

    After you've done all that, THEN you send the people to the surface.