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Mars Journal Issue Inspires Hundreds of One-Way Trip Volunteers

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the easier-said-than-done dept.

Mars 475

Velcroman1 writes "An interplanetary trip to Mars could take as little as 10 months, but returning would be virtually impossible — making the voyage a form of self-imposed exile from Earth unlike anything else in human history. What would inspire someone to volunteer? A special edition of the Journal of Cosmology detailed exactly how a privately-funded, one-way mission to Mars could depart as soon as 20 years from now — and it prompted more than 400 readers to volunteer as colonists. 'I've had a deep desire to explore the universe ever since I was a child and understood what a rocket was,' said Peter Greaves, the father of three, and a jack-of-all-trades who started his own motorcycle dispatch company and fixes computers and engines on the side. 'I envision life on Mars to be stunning, frightening, lonely, quite cramped and busy,' he said. Given the difficulties of the mission, Lana Tao, the editor of the Journal, said she was surprised by the response. 'At first we thought the e-mails were a joke... then we realized they were completely serious.'" Of course, they'd have to compete with the thousands of you who said you'd go.

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475 comments

Can I send... (4, Funny)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34825964)

... my boss?

What really concerns me (4, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826086)

Is how a father of three could volunteer to depart on what would most likely be a suicide mission. Exploration and the battle against entropy and all that is all good and well, but if one is a father, one has certain responsibilities that are paramount about anything else.

I will probably get flamed to death about this, but I guess in this case, the guy must be either be completely discontent with his lot in life, or he must be the most selfish, self serving person that exists.

Re:What really concerns me (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826178)

Is how a father of three could volunteer to depart on what would most likely be a suicide mission. Exploration and the battle against entropy and all that is all good and well, but if one is a father, one has certain responsibilities that are paramount about anything else.

I will probably get flamed to death about this, but I guess in this case, the guy must be either be completely discontent with his lot in life, or he must be the most selfish, self serving person that exists.

History book.
Read one.

Re:What really concerns me (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826180)

Or, perhaps, his kids are grown?

Perhaps his kids rarely come visit anyway?

Who knows. Simply because one has sired offspring does not imply that they are or should be dependent upon one forever.

Which would be more selfish-- the middle aged to retired man who wants to use the autumn years of his life to accomplish something great, or the children who insist that "pops" stick around so they can dump their kids on him, and otherwise mooch?

That particular sword cuts both ways, you see.

Re:What really concerns me (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826274)

Not that the planners would let him; but any "middle aged to retired man" who consumes a martian launch spot is suffering from a different flavor of selfishness.

Unless the costs come down by a fair few factors of ten, there is no case to be made for sending any but the healthiest, expected-to-last-longest, specimens...

Re:What really concerns me (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826412)

Men are often fertile until they die so maybe he is hoping for a spot on the breeding team!

Re:What really concerns me (3)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826516)

That kind of presupposition trades youth for experience, which would spell disaster for such a mission.

This is especially true if you need experienced horticultural experts, animal care specialists, and all the other "tools of the trade" types you would need to create a functioning colony.

If you just wanted to send scientists with a prefab 'Instant research lab in a crate" that they just assemble with a pneumatic torque gun, then yes-- your argument makes sense. However, that is now what is needed by a one-way trip colonization endeavor.

The people have to be experienced and resourceful. Things that best come with practical experience and age.

To be successful, the mission would have to incorporate both sets-- the young and vibrant-- as well as the older and more experienced.

I dont suggest sending invalids up mind-- There are very spry and healthy 60 year olds right now. Instead, I would suggest that all volunteers undergo a skills assessment and a physical, and if they pass both, they are included.

Re:What really concerns me (1)

tebee (1280900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826566)

If his kids aren't grown up now the will be in the twenty or so years when the mission happens.

But this is the sort of thing humanity has been doing for centuries if not longer , think Pilgrim Fathers and Plymouth Colony.

Re:What really concerns me (4, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826182)

Mission date is +20 years. Unless he has more kids, they will all be adults by the time he takes his trip. Other than some grief during the onset of the mission, it's probably no different than the kid that moves away from the area they grew up for better opportunities.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826186)

Or maybe he RTFA (or even just TFS) and knows that this trip would be at least two decades away, meaning his kids would be grown up and on their own by then, if they aren't already.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826200)

Maybe he's in his mid 50s and his kids are already grown? At what point is his life his again?

Re:What really concerns me (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826206)

Or, you know, he's left his legacy. His kids are well cared for, and perhaps of an age.

Perhaps he's completely content.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826220)

How many children went on the Mayflower?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_passengers_on_the_Mayflower

Re:What really concerns me (1)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826230)

If he is a father already, and the Mars mission won't be for 20 years, his children will be at least 20 years old. It's not like he's dropping off the 5 year old at the babysitter forever.

Re:What really concerns me (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826234)

A quick skim of the article didn't reveal his age, but from the picture I'd guess mid-late 50s; there's every chance that his (presumably) adult children support him in this and would be happy to see him attempt to fulfil his dreams rather than stagnate, even at some significant risk.

Re:What really concerns me (5, Interesting)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826246)

[...] he must be the most selfish, self serving person that exists.

Of course he is! He's a father, after all. Who else but the selfish can bring themselves to thrust children into this world of ours? You don't have children for their sake, you have them for your own. Immortality, appreciation, social status, tax credits. Children bring a wealth of benefits to the parents, even without counting less tangible things like pride and love. No one has children for any other reason than for themselves. That attitude may change later one, when care and comfort of the children itself becomes the driving force of importance, but it never starts out being about the kids.

Re:What really concerns me (2, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826536)

You know what benefit parents give their children? Life. Beat that one, I dare you.

Re:What really concerns me (3, Insightful)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826576)

Who else but the selfish can bring themselves to thrust children into this world of ours?

I totally disagree with this.

Prior to having children, my wife and I talked about the massive expense and inconvenience, and weighed it against our responsibility to THEM, the unborn children. We literally held their lives in our hands (in the form of Birth Control devices), and decided that the right, UNselfish thing to do was to give them life.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826248)

I do in fact disagree with you completely. I think that the least selfish thing a person can do is offer their life in exchange for a chance to help the scientific progress of humanity.

As for the children, given that the mission could be ready to launch in *20 years* I think they'll manage to get their children off to school in the morning without grandpa around.

Let's all try a little harder to think before we speak mmkay?

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826250)

If you take a look at the article, there's a picture of him at the very top, and he doesn't look all that young. His kids are probably fully grown, so he's not exactly talking about abandoning children.

Re:What really concerns me (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826262)

Well, even if his kids are in diapers now the soonest the trip could depart is 20 years from now. While I understand that many people in their 20s-40s would rather not loose a parent, its not like we are talking about leaving the toddlers behind to never know their dad.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826300)

The knee-jerk reaction is to assume his children are young, but that may not be the case. If his kids are grown up or soon to leave the nest, why not? I'd be more concerned about how his wife feels (assuming he has one), but bless her heart if she and the kids support his passion. Also, the article and summary points out the mission wouldn't depart until at least 20 years from now. By that time the age of any kid becomes a moot point.

Re:What really concerns me (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826314)

Depends. Maybe if there is a good paycheck in it that can be sent to his family, it wouldn't be all that bad of an idea. Depending on the age of his kids (maybe they are all teenagers?) there isn't much of a role left for him to play. Not to mention, by the time the trip gets off the ground (literally), his kids will have grown up. Also, it's worth mentioning that even non-mars astronauts would have big problems with family life and small kids, as do many other professions. Many business people spend 80 hours a week at work, leaving almost no time for their families. Many kids are raised entirely by nannies, and almost never see either of their parents. Having one of your parents be a Mars astronaut, which would make enough money for the other parent to stay home, would be better than a lot of kids get.

Re:What really concerns me (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826376)

He's a father of three. A little alone time probably sounds like a really good idea about now.

Re:What really concerns me (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826396)

Talking about someone else and their responsibilities is a nasty thing. A human being might have varying priorities in life and raising kids might not be as high up on his list as space exploration or peeing his name in the snow for that matter. Do you think such a person would do a great job of being a dad and a father to three kids if you tied him down to Earth and said "No, you have 3 kids, take care of them!". He'd probably resent that idea enough to d something nasty to them.

Yes such things get us concerned. No, they should not. And No, it's a lousy idea if ever we decided to act pon our concerns for other peoples responsibilities.

And I tend to agree with you. Any one as selfish as that's gotta be a really lousy person. I'm not sure if I love you or hate you for your comment, but I sure as hell don't think it deserves a flame. :P

Re:What really concerns me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826418)

...or he actually has vision.

Teaching your kids an understanding of sacrifice (e.g. leaving your family) for the greater good for the long term survival of humanity (e.g. moving beyond an existence on a single planet) and a sense of selflessness is actually a good thing.

If more people stopped thinking in terms of single life-spans we would accomplish something meaningful as a species.

Re:What really concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826462)

Is how a father of three could volunteer to depart on what would most likely be a suicide mission. Exploration and the battle against entropy and all that is all good and well, but if one is a father, one has certain responsibilities that are paramount about anything else.

I will probably get flamed to death about this, but I guess in this case, the guy must be either be completely discontent with his lot in life, or he must be the most selfish, self serving person that exists.

If you had three kids, you'd understand why suicide is so attractive.

Most selfless (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826498)

In giving his life to explore new frontiers, he sets an example for his children, and for children everywhere, that people can think beyond just their own family and do something for the greater good of humanity.

Seems to me you are pretty self-serving, thinking only about your own family and not the future of mankind.

Re:What really concerns me (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826504)

Is how a father of three could volunteer to depart on what would most likely be a suicide mission.

Isn't "choosing to stay on earth" a suicide mission?

Re:What really concerns me (1)

Ignatius (6850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826520)

Have you - or anyone who modded this up - even bothered to check the article? How old do you rate the guy from the picture? 20 years from now, chances are his grand children will be grown up!

ignatius

Re:What really concerns me (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826528)

but if one is a father, one has certain responsibilities that are paramount about anything else.

Oh - now that's something I disagree with and I'll probably get flamed more than you.

I could be a terrible father. I don't have any children, and I don't want any for a bit (I'm still pretty young). But if I were to have 3 kids tomorrow I would much rather put them up for adoption than try raising them myself. I've still got to pay off my school debt, I've got living expenses of my own, heck I might be switching jobs soon. Money is going to be tight.

I know it's not morally justified or anything like that, but if I had kids right now I would end up having this animosity towards them that they ruined my 20's, caused me so much stress, caught me unprepared - basically a bunch of negative energy. I'd do my best to be a loving parent but I won't deny that those thoughts would be there. As such, I'd probably make a terrible father. When there are people out there unable to have children, who are much more loving than I and would be overjoyed with being able to take care of my kids.

Whether that's being selfish or selfless - I don't know. When one option is both better for the kids and better for me, does that make me a bad person?

offer it to people in prison there are some smart (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826002)

offer it to people in prison / as alt to prsion there are some smart people in there who pulled off some big capers and have skills that are needed on mars.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826042)

Sorry, but I think a one-way trip to Mars is too good of a thing for some people in prison. I wouldn't exactly want convicted murderers in the 1st colony on Mars, would you?

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

misosoup7 (1673306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826150)

I think it'll be OK. Just look at what happened with Australia. Just give it fifty years or so.
OK, jokes aside, I don't think convicted murders have the mental capacity to stay focused to survive on Mars.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (2)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826156)

Which is why we only send people in resort prisons, not federal pound-me-in-the-ass prisons.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826270)

Why not? What does murder have to do with being on Mars? There's nobody else there to murder. Better to send the murderer away than somebody who is a net positive to society. 'Course, better still to be able to write a return ticket.

I think what you'd have to watch out for would be suicidal people, including people who are suicidally unwilling to do the work to maintain a livable habitat.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (2)

Gunkerty Jeb (1950964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826290)

"Sorry, but I think a one way trip to Mars is too good of a thing some people in prison." It's only too good a thing for those who enjoy living with crippling loneliness in a cold world without water.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826190)

offer it to people in prison / as alt to prsion there are some smart people in there who pulled off some big capers and have skills that are needed on mars.

Isn't this how we ended up with Australia?

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826202)

What happens when aliens find our mars colony, and think that the entire race is composed of people like that?

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826326)

They stay away from Earth, nervous that all humans like to plumb the depths of their physiology?

Oh wait, haven't the aliens been doing that to us for years?

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826324)

Read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein for a good story with this basic premise.

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826446)

Offer it to those in Prison and then send those who don't want to go. :P

But being realistic, I would never recommend such a thing. They'll grow a planet-full of Axe-Murders and Earth haters. I don't think you want all that blood on your hands. :)

Re:offer it to people in prison there are some sma (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826460)

Read the Rendezvous With Rama series books from Arthur C. Clarke. In one of the later books, people of the Earth are asked to volunteer for a large one-way mission. Not enough people volunteer so they tap prisons to make up the difference. It doesn't end well.

People (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826008)

People don't stop to think. It would be psychological suicide. People say yeah no problem, but in reality 99.9999% of people would not be able to do this.

Re:People (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826294)

Depends entirely on how much intellectual contact you get from Earth during the trip and while you're on Mars. And whether there's something productive to do there. If you're not The Dude, then productive is optional but engaging would still be necessary. As well as a lot of vodka, kahlua, and dairy.

Re:People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826602)

Not everyone has a problem with being alone. Some prefer it that way and they don't need distractions to take their mind off no one else being there.

As someone who's almost always alone, yes, most people won't be able to handle it. But there are some that can and actually prefer it.

captcha: prodigy

Hold on... (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826040)

Isn't this how the movie Aliens started?

I am never going to that colony. I have seen too many sci-fi movies to want to mess around with that. Deep Space exploration on the other hand, I would volunteer for

Re:Hold on... (4, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826124)

Deep Space exploration? You mean like Event Horizon?

Re:Hold on... (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826426)

(Interview room)

"So, your resume looks quite strong, and medical says that you are cleared for prolonged periods of weightlessness and are highly resistant to disorientation and nausea. Very promising."

"Thank you, I have the greatest enthusiasm for the mission!"

"Just one thing, before I answer any questions you might have: Purely out of curiosity, do you have any sort of latent trauma in your background that might be triggered in a fairly easy-to-do-the-special-effects-for sort of way where you, hypothetically, trapped on a derelict vessel steeped in the ultimate evil of a dimension as alien to the laws of physics as it is repulsive to the idea of a loving God?"

"Umm... What?"

I don't care how many volunteers you get (0)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826062)

It's easy to volunteer for something that doesn't sound like it's going to hurt. When the radio messages come back with "Please... I'm running out of oxygen... it's cold and the pain is excruciating," the mission will be viewed as a fiasco for the rest of time.

Facing death with dignity is a lot easier to imagine than it is in real life. Some do manage it anyway, of course, but which of those hundreds of volunteers is really going to pull it off? It's the kind of thing you don't find out about for certain until you get your one-and-only shot.

Even if they do pull it off, the people behind the mission are going to be accused of murder. It will be an ugly stain on them for the rest of their lives. The mission is temporary, but the subsequent death is forever.

So we can treat this as a charming mental exercise, and even be surprised by how many people would volunteer for the mission. But it's simply not ever going to happen.

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826216)

It's easy to volunteer for something that doesn't sound like it's going to hurt. When the radio messages come back with "Please... I'm running out of oxygen... it's cold and the pain is excruciating," the mission will be viewed as a fiasco for the rest of time.

Facing death with dignity is a lot easier to imagine than it is in real life. Some do manage it anyway, of course, but which of those hundreds of volunteers is really going to pull it off? It's the kind of thing you don't find out about for certain until you get your one-and-only shot.

Even if they do pull it off, the people behind the mission are going to be accused of murder. It will be an ugly stain on them for the rest of their lives. The mission is temporary, but the subsequent death is forever.

So we can treat this as a charming mental exercise, and even be surprised by how many people would volunteer for the mission. But it's simply not ever going to happen.

History book.
Read one.

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

MichaelKristopeit400 (1972448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826286)

right... because the deaths of members of the all volunteer american armed forces have brought upon murder accusations of the president and the american government has been subsequently shut down.

you're use of absolutes in the face of obvious uncertainty is very telling.

you're an idiot.

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826298)

Err... So, by that logic, we should just shut down NASA and never send up another manned mission ever again?

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826506)

Why, yes. You've completely grasped my argument. A mission known to be suicidal is exactly the same thing as one designed with safety in mind and a track record of often, but not always, successful missions.

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826454)

If this were a 100% guaranteed suicide mission, sure. Probably 399 of those 400 people would pull out so fast there'd be a vacuum where they were standing and they'd outrun their own scream. The 400th would only run away at mere superhuman speed and be declared insane for the delay. But the plan is to send up colonists with equipment that gives them a chance at long-term survival on Mars, not human scientific instruments with enough canned air to last a month and let them die off.

The ideal way to approach this, of course, is to send automata and have them set up the habitat, plant the first crops, and start the ball rolling. Have them build out a half-dozen colonies in relatively close proximity, establish a large cache of emergency resources nearby, and then send enough population at first to establish half those colonies. Send the colonists up around harvest time for the first round of crops so they have a head start. If resources get scarce at a colony, you send some or all of the colonists to one of the "spare" habitats. If the resources fall below what can sustain the colonists overall, have them tap into the reserve and go on short rations until a resupply can be arranged.

Once the six colonies are fully populated and have the kinks worked out, build out a few hundred more over time. Then our great-grandkids can talk about terraforming in a century or so.

This is roughly the equivalent of colonizing a new continent back in the days of sailing ships, when overseas voyages were long, hard, and dangerous. Humanity managed that, quite successfully in fact. The colonists faced never seeing anyone from their old country again, and a very real possibility of dying on the journey or after arriving. We did it then, we'll do it again. There will be no shortage of volunteers if and when there's a fair chance of making a go of it.

Because, hell, you get to be a human living on another PLANET. Not just another continent, a whole different PLANET. Life's to short not to grab an opportunity like this by the short-and-curlies and hang on for dear life. Sure, you might die. But you're gonna die in a handful of decades anyway, either sitting in front of the tube watching American Idol or working your ass off so someone further up the food chain can get rich.

The only thing that makes me sad about this is that I'm already well over 40. By the time something like this comes around, if it ever does, I'd never qualify as a colonist. I'll be too old.

But for you lucky young bastages who get to do this, I'm going to hang on long enough to cheer for you, I hope. I'll be jealous, but happy for y'all.

Re:I don't care how many volunteers you get (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826544)

Perhaps I'm being excessively cynical here; but(were I planning such a mission), I'd be inclined to quietly build such environmental monitoring hardware as I could into the comms gear: If things really go to shit, the radio would "malfunction", rather than broadcast Our Hero's last gasping, choking, moments... One might also(again quietly) equip the crew with a 'contingency autojector', consisting of your basic Epi-pen style automatic syringe unit, loaded with a cocktail of enough opiates to make a trip through the iron maiden a pleasure and some sort of fairly fast-acting toxin.

Beats the hell out of suffocation or starvation and is modestly nicer than freezing to death.

Why not wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826068)

Why not just hold off until we can actually bring them back as well? What's the rush? If we can get there, then we're halfway to the ultimate goal, right?

Of course, if this really is going to be funded voluntarily (meaning privately), then I have nothing to complain about.

Re:Why not wait (1)

BarefootClown (267581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826402)

Quite a bit less than halfway, actually. The logistics of return trip are considerably more challenging than the outbound leg.

Difference (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826088)

There's probably at least some disconnect between those willing to go to Mars to start a colony, and those who are qualified to go to start a colony (certain skillsets, psychology, etc.) Personally, I would probably go, but I know I don't have anything to offer a colony to help it start and last.

Re:Difference (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826380)

Amusingly, I do have a somewhat useful skillset for such an operation...

As far as geeks go, I am ordinary to sub par-- only knowing one programming language, and it being older then dirt-- but where I would shine would be in my other skillsets-- namely, I grew up in an agrarian environment, and am first-hand experienced with animal husbandry and ecological issues.

(No slashnerds. that does NOT mean I am into bestiality, so don't crack jokes.)

I also have experience operating agricultural equipment, like tractors, bailers, etc-- and have even performed service on same.

Now- to be blunt, I really do dislike nearly all other humans. If going to mars meant I could escape the bureaucratic mentality, even at the expense of never seeing a blue sky ever again, I would still go. I would very much like to work within a meritocracy. I know I would shine.

Re:Difference (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826596)

I know I don't have anything to offer a colony to help it start and last.

If you have reproductive capabilities, then you have at least one thing to offer.

Why is it "virtually impossible"? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826116)

Send up a flotilla of cargo ships with parts for the return vehicle.

Then send up a flotilla of vehicle builders.

Then send up your volunteer.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826168)

Do you understand the difference between typing out some childish delusional fantasy (for free) and the practical realities of engineering limits and physical reality?

EXAMPLE: Cure all diseases related to aging.

Apply each cure to every human on the planet.

Wow, we'll all be immortal in twenty years!

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (0)

MichaelKristopeit350 (1968134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826344)

do you understand the difference between an absolute and a mere possibility?

if humans can build the ship here to go there, then they can build the ship there to come here. it's simply a matter of time.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826370)

Actually, I do.

"Cure all diseases related to aging" implies that you know how to cure all of those diseases. Simply put, we don't.

But putting someone on another planet? Just a matter of sending up enough stuff to create a survivable shelter and enough extra stuff to keep that stuff in good repair. The how-to is all but trivial. It's getting the money to do it that's hard.

I'll be immortal in 20 years. You'll still be trying to figure out how to watch one program while recording another.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826222)

I'm sure vehicle building in a low gravity environment will work quite differently from how we do it on this nice planet of ours.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826400)

Yeah. It'll be a fuckload easier. It means we can send up a lighter crane. Just saved a few $billion right there.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826366)

Sounds a wee bit like the "Mars Direct" initiative. Robert Zubrin, David Baker et al.

Re:Why is it "virtually impossible"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826474)

And what do you fuel the return vehicle with?

DampeS8N Will go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826188)

Yes. Sign me up to go. Any time. I'll lift heavy boxes. I also have read "Time Enough for Love" 3 times.

Send all the volunteers (2)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826242)

Send all the volunteers. Send several ships with greenhouse and housing building materials. Eventually we will build the technology to rescue them. For now, they can just Tweet us from Mars.

The person they should pick (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826280)

. . . the person they should pick for such a mission should be a Major in the Air Force who is married, and answers to the name "Tom." :)

I'm a fan of long trips to isolated places... (5, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826306)

But even my longest (currently) planned trip (a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail) still has me going into town for resupply every week at most and of course ends with me safe back home. On shorter trips I've spent a longer time away from people and civilization (60 days in the woods, but I had made several trips ahead of time to lay in supplies so I didn't need to go anywhere) and it was lonely - but again, in the end I knew I was coming back to the things I felt were "home." Despite going on those kinds of trips (which I venture to say most westerners never even come close to doing), I really can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to make such a trip and *know* that I was never, ever coming back and I would almost certainly never, EVER see any of the people and places I love, and never have the luxury of easy survival that we have here on Earth, even in some of the worst places on the planet, ever again.

I know there are many people who would volunteer for such a trip - I certainly think it would be pessimistic to think that we couldn't find several thousand people who are qualified and capable of making the trip. Heck, maybe I'd even be one of them, but based on my experience simply removing myself from human company for 2 months, probably not. In any case, people like that "father of three" volunteering just come off as romantic and not particularly thoughtful.

We don't have anything comparable to abandoning *for sure* everything you know and settling somewhere new in our race's living memory. We have a handful of people alive who were born in the very late 1890's - when crossing from Europe to the Americas was not unreasonable to contemplate doing twice, or being able to send for one's family, or otherwise not cut oneself off from everything you knew. Even Columbus made it here and back - there really would be nothing comparable in even the most charitable definition of modern times.

Maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but I do wonder what people who could do this one-way-for-sure trip and survive would be like. I have lived without the streets of my city underfoot and the ceilings of my home overhead, but I can't imagine what it would do to me to have alien soil under alien skies and know I'd never set foot on Earth again.

Re:I'm a fan of long trips to isolated places... (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit350 (1968134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826550)

this isn't about you and what you've claimed you'll someday do on this planet.

cower behind your chosen pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

At 6'3" would I be disqualified by height? (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826354)

What is the average height of a astronaut or even an air force pilot? Anyone know?

Re:At 6'3" would I be disqualified by height? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826568)

That's the right attitude!

Well, according to NASA requirements, at 6'3" you are just under the limit. The maximum height for a Commander, Pilot or Mission specialist is 6'4", according to Wikipedia [wikimedia.org]:


Commander and Pilot

        * A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics is required, although service in the United States Air Force can exempt this.
        * At least 1,000 hours flying time as pilot-in-command in jet aircraft. Experience as a test pilot is desirable.
        * Height must be 5 ft 4 in to 6 ft 4 in (1.63 to 1.93 m).
        * Distant visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye
        * The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK, are now allowed, providing at least 1 year has passed since the date of the procedure with no permanent adverse after effects. For those applicants under final consideration, an operative report on the surgical procedure will be requested.

Mission Specialist

        * A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics, as well as at least three years of related professional experience (graduate work or studies) and an advanced degree (master's degree = 1 year or a doctoral degree = 3 years)
        * Applicant's height must be 5 ft 2 in to 6 ft 4 in (1.57 to 1.93 m).

To any would-be volunteers... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826360)

You need to understand that the latency in Internet connectivity would make playing real-time online games almost impossible. Even simple IM messages could take 20 minutes or so to get across. YouTube would probably be virtually inaccessible, as would any site that depends on streaming. I'm just sayin'.

Of course, you could play other volunteers with you, as long as some enterprising game company (no pun intended) allowed you to run a server there.

Sending e-mails is easy (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826362)

It's easy to write up an e-mail and send it, especially knowing this is unlikely to ever happen. I'd say less than 2% of those volunteers are actually people who would go through with it if asked.

On-site *engineering* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34826440)

Ok. We send people. Cool! Awesome! All for it! I'd volunteer in a heartbeat.

However, I take the presumption that what will be sent along will be minimal. Right or wrong, on-site utilization of resources is going to be the only way to exist there. Meaning: extracting every bit of energy in every possible way for the the necessities to survive as long as possible. Since we're in these 'troubled economic times', yet such an expedition is proposed (if only on paper), I'm wondering what the current state of engineering ( biological, chemical, physical) is for such a proposal. With the premise that we must utilize local minerals, environmental and atmospheric fluctuations, and any and all radiations to the maximum, where technologically, do we stand? Again, this is with the presumption that we send minimal gear for survival with said planetary explorers. But, we send all the tools necessary for resource allocation and extending their survival along with them. Call it a test of willful planetary survival.

Has everyone forgotten human history? (4, Insightful)

berryjw (1071694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826444)

We've been wandering off on one-way trips for most of human existence, even if most didn't completely realize the nature of the trips. Huge numbers of immigrants to the Americas *knew* it was one-way, the journey was treacherous, and none of it would be easy, and huge numbers of them didn't survive. The human animal is, by nature, an exploratory creature, of course many of us would go. Many more of us would go afterward, over the bones of those before us, armed with what little knowledge their passing gave us, because the hope of success would so mightily outshine any sense of hope left here.

A one way trip will never happen (-1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826524)

We can't send people one way, not because plenty of people wouldn't go, but because of our values about what we are as a society and as a people.

History is replete with individuals sacrificing their lives for the group. But that is only heroic when the individual makes that decision all on their own.

When ordered to make the sacrifice, or when the volunteer sacrifice is fully and cognizantly condoned before hand: that's simply amoral and wrong. Whether Japanese Kamikaze Zero pilots ordered to sacrifice themselves, Bomb laden Sunnis walking into processions of Shiites volunteering to sacrifice themselves, or sending volunteers on a one way trip to Mars: these are not actions that can be tolerated by a moral society.

So, the only way someone is going to Mars one way by themselves, is if they fund and build the rocket themselves, and not tell anyone else beforehand. Otherwise, its not happening, sorry.

Don't drink the water... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34826560)

If Doctor Who has taught me anything, don't drink the Martian water. Not with out an appropriate water filter of course.

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