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One-Way Ticket to Mars?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the all-aboard dept.

Space 1242

ahogue writes "Paul Davies, who has written several very accessible books on physics and cosmology, proposes an interesting way to get a manned mission to Mars - leave them there. [NYTimes, free reg. req.] While it may sounds shocking at first, the financial and exploratory benefits seem to outweigh the social negatives. Any volunteers?" Reader docanime writes with some sober news: "All this recent talk about Mars rovers and orbiters has made one space fan checking out how well Mars has been deflecting and destroying the space probes. The Mars Scorecard lists all the known fly-by, orbital, and landing attempts/failures made by humans. In case you're curious, Mars is winning 20 to 16."

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1242 comments

Parts (5, Funny)

panxerox (575545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998563)

Can't you just hook up one of my legs to a life support system and send it there? at least we will have a "part" of a man there. And I can say I have 1 foot in this world and 1 in the next.

Re:Parts (3, Funny)

jkeegan (35099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998638)

Wow.. I know we all sit in front of computers a lot, but I never thought any of us would get so used to it that we volunteered to give up our legs! :)

Some joke about Uranus. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998566)

Please insert here. :-)

one way ticket to mars (3, Funny)

sirinek (41507) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998569)

I nominate George W Bush to be first in line. :)

Re:one way ticket to mars (1, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998606)


I nominate George W Bush to be first in line.

I would second that if it were a trip to the sun.

Re:one way ticket to mars (0)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998666)

I second that nomination!

(btw, This is the only legitimate purpose of a "Me Too!" post).

Re:one way ticket to mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998727)

----
I agree with Sirinek, Bush Jr should be the first to go to Mars. He already doesn't live in this world.

*runs before the flames hit*
----

Just add Justin Timberlake, N'SYNC, Backstreet Boys, Hillary Duff, Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Seacreast, Every Reality Show creator, and Clay Aiken and send them with Bush.

Oh and to be more effecient in fuel usuage, I suggest we remove all consumeable food and water from the ship before lift off.

Re:one way ticket to mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998774)

But I though Bush wanted to go beyond Mars... well, as long as it is a one-way ticket, I don't care where he goes.

Maarten

Keep religion out of it. (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998575)


..then evidence for a second genesis would await us, providing a heaven-sent opportunity to compare two bio-systems..

Pet Peeve #1977832: I hate it when they use overt religious terms in scientific articles. Keep religion relegated to where it belongs and keep science scientific.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998610)

Reminds me of those schmucks talking on CNN.

"Trying to search for life that exists or may have existed on Mars could have grave theological impact!"

Idiots.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998624)

Pet Peeve #1977832:..., now that is a big list! You must not spend much time doing anything but listing what pisses you off.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998642)

Pet Peeve #1977833: Hearing grub speak.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998665)

genesis ( P ) Pronunciation Key (jn-ss)

1. The coming into being of something; the origin.

heaven-sent (hvn-snt)

Occurring at an opportune time; providential.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998683)

Pet Peeve #1977833: I hate it when people get pissy about supposed overt references to religion in comments about scientific articles, as if their presence somehow taints the rest of the article. For some, religion and the origin of our species are linked, after all. And just because you may not like it, doesn't mean they are wrong.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (5, Funny)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998686)

When your peeve-count reaches the 7 digits, you aren't talking about pets. You're talking about the mother of all peeve zoos.

Re:Keep religion out of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998741)

I should start distributing DVD-Rs of all my peeves :)

Re:Keep religion out of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998691)

Shouldn't you be working on your other 1977831 other pet peeves?


--God

Re:Keep religion out of it. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998763)

I don't have any complaints with genesis. It's a useful short-hand. It might have a religious origin, but what other one word sums it up as well?

Heaven-sent, like god-willing, is null-noise. Replace it with "lucky", no biggy.

Where do I sign up? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998581)

This planet sucks, I wouldn't mind it.

Re:Where do I sign up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998611)

No shit, plenty of food, plenty of herbs;) a nice girl, and a satellite dish, what else do you need?

Voting (1)

pantycrickets (694774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998583)

proposes an interesting way to get a manned mission to Mars - leave them there.

I think we should have some sort of official voting process to decide who gets chosen for these missions. I know I could think of a few people I would like to nominate.

"Mars needs men!" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998584)

"Mars needs men!"
A few days after landing...
"Mars needs women!"

Why do a manned mission? (4, Insightful)

glinden (56181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998586)

  • the financial and exploratory benefits seem to outweigh the social negatives
What are the social and exploratory benefits of a manned mission? How do they outweigh the costs?

While I'm a big fan of robotic probes to Mars and elsewhere, I have never seen a compelling economic argument for manned exploration of Mars, at least in the short and medium term.

The argument for seems to be based entirely on the assumption that we need to colonize Mars as quickly as possible and this is a first step. But why do we need to colonize Mars as quickly as possible? Until we've exhausted what we can learn from unmanned probes, why send manned missions at all?

Re:Why do a manned mission? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998648)

Think of it as Earth's hobby.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (5, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998650)

Until we've exhausted what we can learn from unmanned probes, why send manned missions at all?

Because we can?

We should go to Mars just because we can. Not because it might make economic sense or serve some social/exploratory benefits.

We (not just the USA but the world) should do it just because we can.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998697)

In the long term, it could be very profitable. It could provide a second home for humanity/other creatures, so while in the short term, the results might not be obvious, the long term is where one must look.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998790)

Right. It's going be profitable in the same way the "New World" was profitable to the Europeans (namely the English).

(meaning one way)

How stupid.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (5, Interesting)

korTdev (36381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998700)

Well, I think that mankind need to learn how to escape its home planet as fast as it can.

As we do not know how long it will take, today is not too early to begin.

Benefits are for the future.

Politics (3, Insightful)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998710)

It's just political. It's doubtful that Bush really thinks we should put a man on Mars, or even send a mission there. But doesn't it sound really patriotic? "The First Man On Mars Will Be An AMERICAN!" No sissy robots, which can't even cook or do the dishes. No, a real, honest-to-god, white American male. It's bound to get him some votes.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (5, Insightful)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998724)

If there had to be a compelling economic argument for everything we do we'd still be living in caves! We should goto Mars because it's there!! And it's interesting and a challange! Who needs more of a reason?!

Plus all humanity is stuck on one planet. That's bad! There are numerous things which could wipe out the entire race. But put humans on other worlds, and you begin to ensure the race has a future.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998754)

To win some presidential election?

Re:Why do a manned mission? (5, Interesting)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998759)

I have never seen a compelling economic argument for manned exploration of Mars

What does this have to do with money? Humans are naturally curious. We're explorers. That's what we do. I'll tell you something else, it wouldn't take a man a week to move off the lander. A guy in a suit would have already picked up half those rocks, drilled 30 feet into the crust, and sifted for gold. No robot yet built can outdo a dude in a suit.

Re:Why do a manned mission? (4, Interesting)

jabberjaw (683624) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998772)

It could be a manifest destiny [wikipedia.org] thing, however I suspect other motives. Why not do a manned mission, sure it is dangerous, and yes the possibility of people dying is very real, but the old argument of "Why climb a mountain" applies. Probes cannot convey the human experience of standing on the Martain surface and running red sand through your hands, sure they do not need food/water/supplies and there is little chance of loss of life save a rocket exploding on the pad, but who here hasn't dreamed of going to Mars? It is hard coded in the human spirit to explore. From taking our first steps as a child, we have always wanted to go there (no, not Mars, a generic there), there which we have not set foot before, there into the unknown. In short, we do not need to colonize Mars as much as we want to colonize Mars.

Do we get to vote on this? (0)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998591)

Paul Davies, who has written several very accessible books on physics and cosmology, proposes an interesting way to get a manned mission to Mars - leave them there.

I nominate Darryl McBride and Billy Goats for the mission.

I'm starting a collection. (5, Funny)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998596)

Send paypal donations to DarlMcBrideMarsTicket@yahoo.com.

Do you realize? (1)

ParadoxicalPostulate (729766) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998729)

Do you realize the implications of Darl McBride being the first man on Mars? NASA would have to buy licenses for looking at pictures of Mars! So much for the $1 billion budget...

From The Earth To The Moon (1)

jkeegan (35099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998598)

Didn't anyone see From The Earth To The Moon?

"Yeah.. we would never, ever do that."

This Day in Slashdot History (-1, Offtopic)

britneys 9th husband (741556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998602)

Today (January 16, 2004) is the second anniversary of the first Slashdot troll post investigation [slashdot.org] . Those of you who have been around a while probably remember the post by negativekarmanow (tm) which received 268 direct and indirect replies and was moderated 851 times. The post brought up five areas of concern for Slashdot, and it would be interesting to take a look at how they have been addressed (or not) since then:

The first point is as true today as it was two years ago -- but CmdrTaco is aware of it, and has recently proposed a solution in his journal [slashdot.org] (skip to the 4th paragraph).

The second point never made much sense in the first place. Posts at +1 have more visibility than posts at 0, and are therefore more likely to be modded down. What's the problem? The FAQ even addresses a similar effect of posting with the +1 Karma Bonus.

Hey trolls, the editors aren't as incompetent as you might think. Slashdot has successfully resolved the third problem by implementing the 2 posts per day limit for users with Terrible karma.

The fourth point is still valid -- the moderation system encourages groupthink.

The last point is still true... but what do you want to do? Abolish moderation? The site would be unreadable.

Re:This Day in Slashdot History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998696)

The last point is still true... but what do you want to do? Abolish moderation? The site would be unreadable.
How would you be able to tell the difference?

Please let GWB be the first volunteer! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998604)

Socks!

Hardly original.. (2, Informative)

kriss (4837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998613)

Kim Stanley Robinson wrote about this very scenario a while back. It's a series of books about the colonization of Mars, both from a technical and a social viewpoint. Very good sci-fi.

(Search for 'Red Mars' on amazon)

Hello (-1, Redundant)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998618)

Hello, I am Darl McBride, I would like to volunteer for this mission.
Also as I would be the fist person on Mars, any subsequent visitors to mars will have to pay me $699

Red Mars? (1)

jabberjaw (683624) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998629)

Wasn't this done in Kin Stenley Robinson's Red Mars [amazon.com] . Personally I think it is an interesting proposal, however I do not work for NASA, yet at least. Perhaps someone with some insider information could reveal whether or not this has been discussed/is an option. I do not see why it is not out of the realm of possibility. Heck, once I finish my degree I would gladly volunteer

ONE WAY TICKET TO MY JAPANESE GIRLFRIENDS PUSSY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998630)



Last night was good, my friends.

A good idea (3, Interesting)

Eric S Rayrnond (739458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998637)

I'd like to add that I think Davies has come up with a good idea, but it needs one thing - property rights. A development regime which provides some form of property rights will become increasingly necessary as space develops. Professionals foresee an integrated system of solar power generation, lunar and asteroidal mining, orbital industrialization, and habitation in outer space. In the midst of this complexity, the right to maintain a facility in a given location relative to another space object may create conflict. Such conflicts may arise sooner than we expect, if private companies begin building subsidiary facilities around space stations. Eventually large public facilities will become the hub of private space development, and owners will want to protect the proximity value of their facility location.

It also seems likely that at some point national governments and/or private companies will clash over the right to exploit a given mineral deposit. Finally, the geosynchronous orbit is already crowded with satellites, and other orbits with unique characteristics may become scarce in the future.

The institution of real property is the most efficient method of allocating the scarce resource of location value. Space habitats, for example, will be very expensive and will probably require financing from private as well as public sources. Selling property rights for living or business space on the habitat would be one way of obtaining private financing. Private law condominiums would seem to be a particularly apt financing model -- inhabitants could hold title to their living space and pay a monthly fee for life-support services and maintenance of common areas.

Mars is NOT winning (4, Informative)

Waab (620192) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998639)

Mars may be up against the world as a whole, but by my count, the US has been kicking some Martian tail.

The US leads Mars 10-5.
The USSR is trailing Mars 5-16
Japan trails Mars 0-1
And the ESA is up on Mars 1-0

Shouldn't the ESA be 0-0-1 (3, Informative)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998674)

In their one current mission, the orbiter survived and the lander is presumed lost.

Re:Shouldn't the ESA be 0-0-1 (1, Funny)

Orion442 (739483) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998715)

No man, Beagle has been too busy digging up Martian dinosaur bones to bother with answering any calls. Its just what dogs do.

Re:Shouldn't the ESA be 0-0-1 (1)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998747)

They still haven't given up on the lander, so 1-0 for the orbiter is right. I think the BBC was reporting that the lander hasn't reached the time for its final automatic attempted means of contact.

So yes, we expect it to soon be 1-1 (or 0-0-1, depending on how you count), but not just yet.

Re:Mars is NOT winning (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998750)

And the ESA is up on Mars 1-0

Are you referring to the lander that landed but has yet to phone home? I would say the score there is 0-1.

Yes please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998640)

Take me off this planet, the lifeforms are so...passe'

I was just thinking about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998641)

Not more than 2 days ago I thought that I would volunteer for a 1-way trip to Mars. I mean if I was the only person there my odds of getting laid would still be the same as they are on earth.

Go Bush! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998643)

I agree with Sirinek, Bush Jr should be the first to go to Mars. He already doesn't live in this world.

*runs before the flames hit*

Crew suggestions (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998652)

  • Darl McBride
  • Gates and Ballmer
  • Verisign (all of them)
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Metallica
  • The RIAA, including Ms. Rosen

As for the name of the spaceship, I suggest naming it the "B" Ark.

Might Be Fun . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998654)

Well, if the manned missions use the bouncing airbag solution used for the unmanned rovers, it could be fun going to Mars. However, the lack of return trip could be a bit of a bummer.

You could always find some adrenaline junkies up for the bounce.

Would you want such a volunteer? (4, Insightful)

haggar (72771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998658)

Lets look into this "volunteer" thing: we are looking for a person ready to give up their whole life, move to an almost 100% barren place where he/she will soon die utterly alone!

I don't think it would be wise to bet such a multi-ten-billion mission on a whacko like that.

Re:Would you want such a volunteer? (4, Informative)

dema (103780) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998721)

As noted in the article, it is suggested that a four-peron crew be sent, so there would not be a total loss of human contact. Read the article, it's rather interesting.

Re:Would you want such a volunteer? (2, Interesting)

Inominate (412637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998761)

The assumption is that it would be a crew of several people. Nor would they necessarily give up thier whole lives, it's quite possible technology would make the return trip practical at some point. Even given the risks involved, finding volunteers would be considerably easier than the engineering involved.

Personally, the idea strikes me as a good one. Not only does it dramaticly cut the costs of the trip, but it leaves a long term commitment to space travel.

Keep Verizon off Mars! (1)

gsperling (625206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998662)

I just don't want to see any commercials of that stupid guy on Mars saying, "Can you hear me now? Good!"

Trouble (2, Funny)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998663)

The trouble comes, of course, when the crew gets into an argument over certain marital infidelities, kill each other, and the Martians living there take in the child that was conceived in space and raise him as their own, then send him back to Earth to cause a hippie revolution of a scale that man cannot even comprehend. (or grok)

Or maybe not.

--Stephen
If it's one-way, I nominate the cast of "Space Cowboys." That was a terrible movie.

I am *so* there. (0, Troll)

devphil (51341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998670)


An opportunity to live in a place in the Sol system not yet swamped by commercialism, war, rude Americans, manipulative Presidents, lying corporations? Where I can accomplish something that would benefit all of mankind?

It'll take me about one day to drive to the Florida launchpad from my apartment. Sign me the hell up!

Re:I am *so* there. (1)

dethlejd (71126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998726)

May I be the first to send you on your way with a hearty "See YA! Don't let the moon hit you on the ass on the way out."

Emotional Horror (5, Insightful)

SpaceRook (630389) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998673)

The worst situation isn't sending a human to mars and having them destroyed in the atmosphere. The worst situation is having them enter the atmosphere and then never hearing from them again (ala Beagle2). People could deal with straight-out death. But if we send a person to Mars and their fate is unknown, that would freak people out.

I've thought about this (4, Interesting)

andyring (100627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998706)

In all seriousness, I would be willing to volunteer for a one-way trip to the Red Planet. Crazy? Probably. Suicide? Who knows. Incredible opportunity? Darn right. Give me 5 or more years of notice, a hefty paycheck for those years ($1 million-ish, to toss out a figure) and I would be willing to board the ship on a one-way trip there.

Outweigh the negatives? (1)

yoghurt (2090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998708)

What do you mean the financial and exploratory benefits seem to outweigh the social negatives? As far as financial, how are you going spend any money on Mars? This had better be one hell of an exploration benefit.

Granted, the norwegian blue has got beautiful plumage, but it's still an EX-parrot!

I don't care if it's got exploration benefits if I'd soon be an EX-astronaut.

Sending water (1)

kherr (602366) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998717)

Seems to me one of the biggest issues is sending enough water. And I've been bothered by politicians who claim launching from the moon is cheaper. While the moon might be a decent staging area, stuff to launch still has to get there from Earth's gravity well before it goes. And the worst is the water--it's dead weight that we can't leave behind.

Indeed! (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998718)

That's one thing I've been wondering about. If it takes a HUGE construct of boosters, launching equipment, and fuel just to escape earth's atmosphere, how exactly do we expect to return anyone from mars? We can't exactly land a launching pad on Mars in any acceptable timeframe, and it would be incredibly difficult to land a craft that would have the required fuel to escape from Mars.

Somehow I doubt that the desire to have someone walk on Mars is going to be the magical trick that makes fusion a viable energy source. We need more general science, not just a space program.

Ryan Fenton

Legacy (1)

Cliffm (44720) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998731)

I know of a few older scientists who would give anything to go down in history as the first humans to step foot on / colonize Mars. My Step-dad for one. This is truly an exciting prospect, and I believe after a few years we may even be able to get them back.

I volunteer... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998738)

The entire United States.

Then the rest of us can get back to living again.

That's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998748)

China will own the solar system (or Russia). The U.S. is so obsessed with safety that we will be blown away by a country with a few brave explorers. We might as well surrender now and just redirect the money to midnight basketball.

Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7998749)

"New Australia"

Puritans (1)

tr0llb4rt0 (742153) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998756)

If a Puritan revival was to take place perhaps they would build a spaceship named Mayflower and head off to Mars to start a new life.

And once there they'd take their ship apart and use it to build their first homes.

History repeats itself. /me hopes that the indiginous martians won't be called *Red* Indians :-D

The Space Program sucks. (0)

JVStalin (671988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998757)

It's a huge waste of money, used to collect pretty rocks which have no value other than augmenting American nationalism. The money could be spent on making this world better instead of eventually exploiting the resources of other worlds.

But, you know, bourgeois governments are keen at wasting money.

Another use for the balloon landing system (1)

F4Codec (619560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998762)

Get some *really* tough balloons, forget the braking rockets, and with a good shot, the return trip is free as you bounce off Mars and back to Earth. It would be the interplanetary equivalent of the bungee jump!

Moon Colony first? (2, Interesting)

Ba3r (720309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998767)

Clearly Mars has far more potential to colonize (maybe even terraform?), but how about trying to establish a Moon colony first. The moon certainly would have natural resources to build a colony, and we should be able to set up a self sustaining environment, with minimal needs for resupply. Once we conquer a barren vacuum rock, building up on a distant atmosphere laden planet is not so intimidating.

Just don't send our criminals... (1)

Pflipp (130638) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998769)

...or the Martians would develop an even more awful accent than the Australians did... :-)

No money left to bring fresh water and... (0, Troll)

911GT3 (678433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998782)

...electricity back to Iraq, but sending some guys to a rusty rock. Strange priorities.

I'm up (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998788)

I've always told my GF that if I was ever given a one-way tocket to Mars, even the Moon, i'd accept it.

For as long as I have a long chair, a six pack and a bag of pretzels.

I imagine myself dying a gentle carbon monoxide death watching the sunset after the most incredible journey one could ever make and having spent a couple of days at the most unimaginable place of all.

Sign me up. Please!
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