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Will Mars be a One-way Trip?

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the please-send-paris-hilton dept.

Mars 724

alexj33 writes "Will humans ever really go to Mars? Let's face it, the obstacles are quite daunting. Not only are there numerous, difficult, technical issues to overcome, but the political will and perseverance of any one nation to undertake such an arduous task is huge. However, one former NASA engineer believes a human mission to Mars is quite possible, and such an event would unify the world as never before. But Jim McLane's proposal includes a couple of major caveats: the trip to Mars should be one-way, and have a crew of only one person."

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I mean... (5, Insightful)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658404)

... shouldn't you at least PLAN on a round-trip ticket, assuming all the obstacles can be overcome, even if it's a long shot?

Re:I mean... (5, Funny)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658530)

You should at least pretend to do so, that way you'll have more volunteers.

I'd go. (1, Insightful)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658838)

You should at least pretend to [be round-trip], that way you'll have more volunteers.
One-way trip or not, I'd go, provided I'd have everything I need to be totally self-sufficient*.
Anything to get away from these morally bankrupt governments here on Earth.

* When I type "totally self-sufficient", I mean totally.
That includes the capability to create all replacement parts, including electronics and so forth.

Re:I mean... (2, Funny)

TobyRush (957946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658854)

I bet Rockhound would do it either way!

Re:I mean... (2, Interesting)

ServerIrv (840609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658558)

Consider a military covert operation. The hardest part of the mission is not getting in and achieving the objectives, but getting out safely (even undetected). Think about Japanese kamikaze pilots of WWII. In that case the pilots were part of the equipment, and greatly eased the logistics of the operation. Without this accepted fate, the Japanese air force would have been highly crippled and less effective. FTA, McLane talks about psychology differences of current astronauts vs the US astronauts of the 1960s and the Russian cosmonauts. These old school astronauts got the job done no matter the cost. While I agree that it is good to have at least some plan, there will have to be the potential "never coming back" element. Maybe it truly is easiest to get someone there accepting the fact that no matter what future plans are in order, they never may be realized.

Re:I mean... (5, Interesting)

Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658752)

a round trip isnt really feasible. the moon was a round trip because all they needed was the dainty little capsule to leave the moons gravity and reenter the earth's. a round trip to mars would require the vessel to have a mechanism for standing itself back up once it landed (to accomplish this with something like the space shuttle, you would need your one man to build the infrastructure of a launch site), and still have room for a second tank of gas. i believe it would be a better idea to first send a few drone ships to land and automatically prepare a base to receive humans.

Re:I mean... (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658818)

This whole article is stupid, and makes some of the most ridiculous comparisons imaginable.

C'mon - comparing flying a single person to Mars with no chance of coming back is like Lindburgh flying to Paris??? Is he saying that Mars is populated with (to quote the Simpsons) cheese-eating surrender monkeys? Or maybe he's suggesting that upon arriving at Mars, the astronaut will have an unlimited supply of hot women and baguettes?

And the whole 'constant communication' - umm.. last time I checked, Mars was between 3 and 21 light-minutes from Earth.. that means you say something, and get a response in a half-hour later.. yeah, that's really constant. It would be more like a video postcard than a conversation.

This article is *really* poorly thought out.

Re:I mean... (3, Informative)

jaaron (551839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658858)

The slashdotted article has a few details not in the summary, including:

  • There would first be a series of unmanned missions to provide supplies and a base
  • The first mission would be followed by other manned missions

So it's more of an advanced scout mission, though the chance of returning is very low

Re:I mean... (5, Insightful)

BlueStraggler (765543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658900)

Round-trip tickets are only useful for tourists, and the real reason to go to Mars is to colonize it, not to take some snapshots and then go home again. We are doing that already with robots, so there's really no point in doing it with people.

The interesting idea here is not the one-way thing, but the one-man, one-way thing. The author is right, it's initially kind of a shocking proposal, but when you stop to think about it, we're just a bunch of wusses. Our ancestors did this kind of risky one-way shit as a matter of course. (Think of how the Polynesians colonized the entire Pacific in simple canoes.) There shouldn't be anything shocking about it at all. We're just not worthy. Some other culture will do this, and we'll talk about how barbaric they are for trading so callously in the lives of their astronauts. But I guarantee the astronauts will go willingly, and while we tut-tut their backward ways and high mortality rate, they'll be conquering Mars.

I Am Legend (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658904)

Who needs other people? Hell is other people, according to Sarte.
(cue Barbra Streisand: people who need people are the luckiest people in the world...)

The real concern would be, where does the food 'n stuff come from? ("this smells like the same old oxygen...")

Redundancy? (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658412)

So every system except the human will be doubly or triply redundant? What's wrong with this picture?

Re:Redundancy? (4, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658456)

The human will be redundant in and of himself. He's symbolic, not operational!

-Peter

Re:Redundancy? (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658490)

What's the human symbolic of if he/she dies en route?

Re:Redundancy? (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658548)

Our mortality!

Re:Redundancy? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658852)

Hooray, someone that gets it!

Nobody else seems to be reading between the lines here. The person who accepts this mission is going to Mars to die. Whatever happens.
We normally pick young, fit astronauts with their whole lives ahead of them. This proposed mission is philosophically profound and does have the potential to unite the world in a way that the original Moon landing did. The suggestion is a piece of genius!

Getting to Mars is very difficult, but a return mission is bordering on impossible right now. So we pick a mature (read old), experienced astronaut who may be facing their last years and send them on the last and ultimate journey of a lifetime. The symbolism is not pointless, it is a statement of human fragility and mortality combined with enormous potential and sacrifice.

If the first (and possibly last) man on Mars isn't top TV ratings I don't know what would be.

Resonances of the Martian Chronicals here.

Re:Redundancy? (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658720)

Who says we'd send a living human? I'm sure some Billionare can pony up to have his ashes be laid to rest on Mars.

Re:Redundancy? (2, Interesting)

Degreeless (1250850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658714)

A good point. Sending a human is pointless as a scientific endevour as it is far more expensive, risky and morally questionable than sending a probe and has no real advantages over it. The only real difference is the symbolic act of a human opening the 'frontier' of Mars, boldly going forwards and giving their lives to advance humanity another baby-step.

Of course it would be reported as an heroic and selfless act in the name of science, because we all love heroic selflessness, it sounds so much better than 'Poor Bugger Dies for PR Stunt'

Re:Redundancy? (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658466)

So every system except the human will be doubly or triply redundant? What's wrong with this picture?

The reality of large Mars missions is that the human is only along for the ride, sort of like a color commentator, to help snare the public's imagination and more funding.

In other words, even one human is already redundant. After all, what can go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go I'm sorry Dave.

Re:Redundancy? (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658660)

The reality of large Mars missions is that the human is only along for the ride, sort of like a color commentator, to help snare the public's imagination and more funding.

Bullshit. If the mars mission is actually doing useful work, then having people physically there will make the work much more efficient. Humans on mars can make decisions in real time. The latency of radio signals makes trying to do anything significant remotely really obnoxious.

Re:Redundancy? (0, Redundant)

dasPlookenMeister (1173763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658880)

You Sir need to take this up with the Department of Redundancy Department.

Missing item ... (1, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658414)

a couple of major caveats: the trip to Mars should be one-way, and have a crew of only one person."

... and LOTS of pr0n.

Re:Missing item ... (4, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658492)

Just what we want: A jizz covered ambassador to Mars.

Re:Missing item ... (5, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658802)

"He came in peace."

Re:Missing item ... (1)

Canosoup (1153521) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658672)

But how will he pilot the ship if he's crippled by carpal tunnel??!

Re:Missing item ... (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658736)

Why should it be just one person? I can think of hundreds, nay, thousands of people who I think would be worthy of being sent to Mars, never to return!

Re:Missing item ... (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658868)

Why not just freeze the man for the trip and then you can save air, food, and water for the time on mars. Or we can just you are ship with hyper drivers to get there.

Re:Missing item ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658910)

Or send someone who's already dead...

Makes things simpler.

A few very complicating points... (4, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658428)

I don't like it, and not for the reasons you'd think.

Living alone:
- Biosphere 2 was huge, and *on earth.* It failed. The guy would need a *lot* of support from earth. If it doesn't come during the launch window, fatal results. Come to think of it, almost every adverse scenario results in certain death.

- We have not even done this on the moon yet. Shouldn't this be tried first? Almost all of the mars mission proposals I've seen require a moon base.

Waste: Lots of it. This guy is not going to live in a self-sufficient environment (Biosphere argument) and thus will leave a lot of mars-debris all around. I guess this is minor and some would argue inevitable, but he is going to colonize the whole planet with his own waste products of all sorts.

A thought question: Will a mars mission not irreversibly contaminate Mars? I have often thought about the moon - it used to be sterile, but now there is human / earth bacteria everywhere around the landing sites. NASA does not sterilize probes it sends. What's that? Bacteria can't survive? Actually, they probably can - many species are capable of withstanding cosmic rays and zero atmosphere, etc.

Cue the "I nominate Mitch Bainwol" comments...

Re:A few very complicating points... (4, Funny)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658542)

The guy would need a *lot* of support from earth. If it doesn't come during the launch window, fatal results.
The astronaut wouldn't be the first mission sent. Send enough supplies for the astronaut to survive even if two consecutive missions failed to reach Mars safely, then send the astronaut.
Or just send someone we don't care so much about. Perhaps someone whose name starts with 'D' and ends with 'arl McBride'?

Re:A few very complicating points... (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658866)

They could send Balmer. Just make sure he has a chair to fight off any Martians with.

Re:A few very complicating points... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658686)

Why do spacecraft have to be sterile?

Re:A few very complicating points... (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658770)

Why do spacecraft have to be sterile?
Well we wouldn't want to send one off to go and mate with a stray, produce hundreds spacecraftlets and thus cause an irreversible imbalance to eco-space, you insensitive clod!

Re:A few very complicating points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658826)

A thought question: Will a mars mission not irreversibly contaminate Mars? I have often thought about the moon - it used to be sterile, but now there is human / earth bacteria everywhere around the landing sites. NASA does not sterilize probes it sends. What's that? Bacteria can't survive? Actually, they probably can - many species are capable of withstanding cosmic rays and zero atmosphere, etc.
Assuming that colonization is the end goal here, wow long will we have to study the planet in its "prestine" form before you're satisfied?

Re:A few very complicating points... (4, Insightful)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658872)

Biosphere 2 was an experiment to simulate earth's natural environment and be self-sustainable.

The colony on Mars, on the other hand, needs only to be self-sustainable. This means that they can skip all the "pollinate with bees" crap and concentrate on producing O2 and food via artificial means.

As for moon base, given the nature of the moon- ie radiation, micro meteor, lack of atmosphere, etc. I would say that while a moon base is easier to do in the short run, a Mars base has a much better chance of being sustainable.

As for contamination- don't be silly, of course we have contaminated Mars. The question is, in what ways?

Re:now there is human / earth bacteria everywhere (1)

bsharma (577257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658906)

Do you realize, if that is true, that is a great achievement! We have created extra-terrestrial life for the first time in the know history of the Universe. It is an achievement as great as creating Artificial Life. Eventually, that bacteria may evolve into, who knows, ET or even little green men.

To quote the great Dave Chappelle... (-1, Offtopic)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658430)

Mars, bitches.

OT I know, but whatever happened to that guy anyway? He had a hit show that was pulling in more viewers on cable than the major networks during that time slot, then I heard he had a nervous breakdown. Any chance he might go back and make more episodes?

At least two? (2, Interesting)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658432)

Shouldn't we send at least two? Or better yet four in total at least? Men and women preferably? Seriously, if it's a one way trip people are going to go nuts without sex, and if it's one way... well at least start colonizing!

Re:At least two? (4, Funny)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658606)

They should send a Slashdot user. We're all used to that "without sex" deal.

Re:At least two? (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658662)

Four people isn't enough to start a colony. You need enough unrelated folks to prevent genetic drift [britannica.com] . Not sure how many, but it's a lot more than 4.

So instead of meditating on a mountain... (3, Interesting)

Neko-kun (750955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658436)

you go to mars. Oddly enough it sounds like a decent idea if you're an uber-smart hermit. I'm still for the colonization idea though cause this almost makes me feel like the ones that go will either kill themselves or develop an elitist attitude towards Earth saying "I left it. Why should I care what happens".

Stupid. (2, Funny)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658442)

This may be the dumbest idea I've heard today (it is election season though, there are 6 hours left to hear worse). The article draws comparison to potentially deadly trips like the first South Pole expedition, but surely those people at least intended to come back.

To berate NASA for not wanting to send a multi million (billion?) dollar mission to mars with a pilot that is, after all, suicidal is just asinine.

Re:Stupid. (1)

Typoboy (61087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658556)

First off, not with taxpayer money. End the bias against private space development.

Next, an "Adam and Eve" scenario is probably not a good idea unless the available, consumable resources can expand at the rate the humans can. As others have alluded to, the next generation can't just dig a well, chop down some trees and build a log cabin.

I would send something unmanned that can get from mars to orbit (like the LEM) first, to prove that we can get back. And then send people.

Re:Stupid. (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658896)

I would send something unmanned that can get from mars to orbit (like the LEM) first, to prove that we can get back. And then send people.
Not so bad an idea, *after* we find a way to drastically reduce the travel time.

Send Bush there (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658574)

Paint this in the rocket: The first "human" in Mars. Mission Accomplished.
And put Bush aboard, he will be very happy.

Red Mars (1)

zekt (252634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658450)

A friend handed me a trilogy called Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars. Although superficial and complete sci fi, it does raise quite a few social problems involved in getting a group of people onto the red planet.

A far as the one way argument goes, I believe, being a race that >should look after its own - we should do this with the person coming back without question. This is because survival of a human there, and on the way there and back is the whole point of the exercise.

Re:Red Mars (2, Interesting)

fartrader (323244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658634)

The absolutely best book out there IMHO, is "Voyage" by Stephen Baxter. It hypothesizes a "what if" the US used Apollo as an enabling technology to get to Mars in the 1980's. Not too far fetched considering the next generation of space vehicles are going to be very apollo-like in appearance and use.

Two ships go, One comes back. (1)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658452)

One basically a slaved fuel tank.
Some probes and other scientific gear.
The other mostly environment and landing module.

Or something along those lines.

One ship would carry fuel for the other ships return.
What's left behind could be modular so it could be disassembled for future use.

Re:Two ships go, One comes back. (1)

Chopes (1250974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658538)

Yeah...when you come up with something that would be cost effective following that plan let me know and Ill call NASA and get them right on it. I'm sure their engineers have not even thought about that.

Re:Two ships go, One comes back. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658632)

Two ships enter. One ship leaves.
Two ships enter. One ship leaves!
TWO SHIPS ENTER. ONE SHIP LEAVES!!

I dunno whether your idea has any merit, but I gotta admit its got a catchy rhythm. I can already hear the PR campaign...

Re:Two ships go, One comes back. (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658870)

Two ships.. Now this is better, 3 ships..

Ship #1 would be able to go from earth to Mars.
Ship #2 would piggyback on Ship #1, smaller and designed to just get out to Mars orbit.
Shit #3 would just wait in orbit to get crew back to Earth

We could also add Ship #4, which would hide behind the moon and have Mars crew look alikes. They would go back to earth in case something bad happened...

Mars weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658458)

They should definitely check the weather [wunderground.com] there before attempting to send anyone.

Re:Mars weather (1, Informative)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658626)

Clever troll.

Don't click, its a goat.cz link... Do any of these trolls REALLY think that the average /.er is going to fall for something like this anymore?

Unless this actually is OT, in some strange, vaguely DaDa way.

Is it really worth it? (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658464)

It's not clear to me what benefits we'd get in trying to get humans to Mars.

Presumably, the technologies developed could be used in many other areas, but why not develop technologies for those problems/needs directly? What can't we learn from automated robots? Would that money be better spent elsewhere? (Admittedly, I work in health research, and I'm biased.).

Going to Mars would be very cool, but I'd imagine that it would require considerable resources. Is it really worth it?

Re:Is it really worth it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658650)

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Re:Is it really worth it? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658668)

Going to Mars would be very cool, but I'd imagine that it would require considerable resources. Is it really worth it?

If it can redirect money from military spending, then it's *obviously* worth it. The aerospace industry *will* get a certain amount of funding for something - their lobbyists are ninjas. Every dollar that gets spent on bombs causes infrastructure damage somewhere that needs to be repaired later. A dollar spent on space exploration has no downside.

Why not? (5, Insightful)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658678)

In the end everything is useless anyway but a mission to mars is fun for the whole species.

See, instead of everyone looking at their navel, people will start raising their head and will start looking at the stars. Instead of having most people working for their own goals, people will start to share a dream. Instead of fighting each other, people will start to work as a team.

I'm currently working in the field of psychology and even though I'm not high on the ladder, the calls I receive are about couples breaking up and people complaining of surviving instead of living. A lot of people are living without knowing what to do with their life and this is the kind of goal that might bring people together and give them something to do with their life even if in the grand scheme of things it is useless.

Also, about the benefits, you can't go wrong with studying how to negate the effects of loneliness which apparently affects tons of people that live in cities. Also you get to fight back bone problems that are not that different from the problems aging people have. Of course, you also get the technologies for space travel but you don't care for that that much.

So is it worth it ? I say sure, why not?

Re:Why not? (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658822)

Well because there's a point when it becomes too expensive. Where is that threshold. 10 billion, 100 billion, 1 trillion, 10 trillion? As an academic, I'm certainly in favour of research pursuits that satisfy intellectual rather than practical questions. Learning for the sake of learning is fun and important. Academics have to be realistic too. In funding decisions -- where money is limited -- intellectual projects are necessarily secondary to practical ones.

I don't disagree that going to Mars would be cool. There would undoubtedly be new technological advances that would be useful in other fields -- although arguably, we could tackle those problems and develop the technologies directly. However, at what point does it cost too much?

Candidates (5, Funny)

Reader X (906979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658470)

I can think of at least two guys I'd like to volunteer for this duty. They'd be perfect, and they'll be available as early as January 21, 2009.

Re:Candidates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658646)

Nah, they should be saved for the next comet penetrator test...

Re:Candidates (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658750)

You're bout 8 years too late, I think...

Not that expensive (or useful) (1)

simonbp (412489) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658472)

A crewed mission to Mars won't be that expensive; on the order of $50-70 billion for the first flight (assuming the lunar program has already paid for launch vehicle development), and then around $5-10 billion for each flight after. For comparison, each Shuttle flight costs about $1 billion, and NASA's annual budget is $17 billion. So, it's expensive, but not enough to call for extreme measures.

Besides, most of the value of manned planetary exploration is in the collection and return of choice samples (we're still working through the Apollo samples). A one-way trip rather excludes that possibility...

Simon ;)

Why stop at one? (3, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658476)

I say Mars is an ideal Junket for Congressmen. They love to travel I say give them the trip of their lifetimes. They spend so much money here it's gotta be cheaper just to send them to Mars where they can do some good and a lot less harm.

Nah. (1)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658488)

We'll send unmanned missions first. Robots and shit, to build either a reserve of useful stuff or a self-constructing outpost. Hey, we ought to have that by 2050, right?

Then when either the epic stockpile or the foldout Martian resort is complete, send a bunch of humans. See how they do. It's definitely one way only, since there's no way for a lander to have enough fuel to blast off from Mars, let alone bring the requisite infrastructure with it.

Then prepare to send more infrastructure and more people. Keep the colony growing. Only if the first children to be born on Mars fail, for lack of better word, is the project cancelled. A rescue mission should take place then, since it'll have been enough years to reach 2100 or something like that and we'll doubtlessly have better materials, science etc. to pull off a rescue mission from the surface of Mars.

Re:Nah. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658682)

It's definitely one way only, since there's no way for a lander to have enough fuel to blast off from Mars, let alone bring the requisite infrastructure with it.

No way?

There are *tons* of ways to accomplish a round trip to mars, even with current technology. If the program had real funding like the moon program did and developed new technology, it'd be even easier.

One way trips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658494)

I know a couple people that I'd like to send one way to Mars.

uh huh.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658496)

However, one former NASA engineer believes a human mission to Mars is quite possible, and such an event would unify the world as never before.
like two people who commit a murder together are "unified" like never before?

Am I weird for wanting to be that guy? (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658520)

Don't answer that.

Re:Am I weird for wanting to be that guy? (0, Troll)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658578)

Let me guess...

You've never had sex, right?

Does This Describe You? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658800)

I don't know about weird but you might not be alone. Does the following Wikipedia article describe you?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori [wikipedia.org]

all they really need is (1)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658534)

a lot of provisions and company (for one way trips: at least 2 men, at least 2 women). the force would also be good.

A great idea! (3, Informative)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658552)

And that man should be genetically engineered to live on Mars all by himself! And have a backpack computer that talks to another computer in Mars orbit!

Hmmmn, where have I heard that before [wikipedia.org] ...

Redundancy (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658568)

All of the other technological components will be designed to be redundant... it seems like an oversight not to have a backup human.

THink of the publicity (3, Interesting)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658584)

I can't see this getting off the ground, because there is no way any administrator or supporter with political backing could say "Yes we are going to send a man to Mars, but we'll leave him there". Even if the plan goes on to include autonomously dropping facilities to build himself a way off the planet, it won't matter, because the media and public reaction won't get past the abandonment part.

No man left behind!

One way trip (2, Interesting)

dookiesan (600840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658630)

By the time a human trip is possible we will have much more capable robots, and they're less likely to get ill during the flight there. It would be an amazing experience for that one person if they did make it though.

Could we send someone depressed or with little will to live? Suicidal people can become very distraught if they are suddenly faced with terminal cancer. It could be disasterous if weeks into the trip they realize that they want to live after all. We would have to send someone stable and yet willing to face inevitable death. How many of you would sign up for a one way trip and not have buyer's remorse?

not very bright... (1)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658644)

Even though explorers in the past traveled, for example, to the south or north pole, knowing they might never return, and thousands of immigrants moved to the US in the 18- and 1900's, knowing they would never see their homeland again, the human psyche has seemingly changed enough that a one-way ticket off the planet is not acceptable.
the guy sounds like an idiot if he cant see the difference between risking your life/moving to another country and facing certain death. a one-way ticket to mars is setting you up for, at best, a painful death due to starvation or oxygen depletion. going to the south or north pole might have been dangerous, but at least there was a chance of survival involved.

and have a crew of only one person... (1)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658656)

Only if we can nominate and vote on who goes.

Re:and have a crew of only one person... (1)

peektwice (726616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658710)

Don't think of it as nominating who gets to go. Think of it as nominating who gets evicted from Earth. It's more gratifying that way.

Now, this is the plan. (4, Funny)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658658)

Get your ass to Mars.

Re:Now, this is the plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658766)

Holy old-timer, batman!

I nominate the marine who threw the puppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658664)

And the link in case you've somehow missed it.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=621_1204615429 [liveleak.com]

Nomination (0, Troll)

Forrest Kyle (955623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658704)

I nominate Jack Thompson. Also good possibilities: Ricky Martin, Geraldo Rivera, and that guy with the horribly loud voice that does those cleaning product commercials.

Wanted: Autistic astronauts (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658706)

Must be mathematically and/or scientifically gifted, enjoy solitude, long periods of limited sensory input.

Unify what world? (2, Informative)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658712)

such an event would unify the world as never before

Sure, as long as you're talking about Mars, and that's just because there'd only be one guy there. Back here on Earth, everyone would go on fucking and fighting the way they always have, though a few might pause to watch some of the news coverage.

Unifying this world would take an alien invasion, and that would last just long enough for us to start losing badly against their superior technology, after which there would be an awe-inspiring race to stab each other in the back to curry favor with our new alien overlords. Face it, there's only so much you can do with a bunch of aggressive, paranoid primates no matter how smart they are.

One-way trip? Sure! (5, Interesting)

incognit000 (1201121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658730)

Personally, I'd be honored for the chance to be the first person on Mars, even if it meant I'd only be there for a short while, and then die. I mean, as it now is, I really don't do much. I go to work, I go home. Eventually I'll die, and a few days after that, I'll be pretty much forgotten. It'll be like I was never here. But if I went to Mars, even if I died, well then at least what I did and where I ended up would be remembered, and that's as close to immortality as a human can get. I mean, some day I have to die. Why not die for some purpose?

RIAA? (1)

MarkovianChained (1143957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658762)

Can we send the RIAA on a one-way trip to Mars?

Typical Slashdot misses the point (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658784)

All of you think "suicide mission" - so you automagically failed the first test.

You're all narrow-minded and desperately earthbound.

I read the article and my first thought was

where do I sign up!
  • Dewspite being a reasonably well-educated geek, I don't have an "advanced degree" in anything
  • I'm not a US citizen
  • I'm over 30
So you see, given my age, this would realistically be my only chance to personally set foot on "The Red Planet". And we need this - Humanity on other planets, and space exploration in general.

If the last (and coolest) thing I do with my life commits "us Terrans" to serious levels of ongoing space and interplanetary exploration, it would be worth the effort (er, sacrifice).

Lindbergh (5, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658792)

Charles Lindbergh is supposed be the inspiration for this, but the guy knows jack about him. Lindbergh didn't set out to do a risky stunt. He was contending for the Orteig prize for the first aircraft to fly New York/Paris (either way) non-stop. Several previous attempts had ended tragically, and Lindbergh was convinced they failed because previous designers had not paid enough attention to various safety margins, especially those relating to weight and fuel. Thus he designed a plane that put fuel tanks in every conceivable space (including the place where any other aircraft would have had a windshield!) and did everything he could think of to minimize weight.

That's why he flew alone: it's not that hard to stay awake for 36 hours, and so he saw a co-pilot as unnecessary extra weight.

Ironically, he got lucky and didn't drift off course as much as he assumed he would, arriving at Paris with enough leftover fuel to continue to Rome. But he designed his plane on the assumption that he would not be lucky. He was a safety-first guy, that's why he succeeded where others failed. It ridiculous to associate him with this insane proposal.

Re:Lindbergh (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658878)

They also left the plane abnormally unstable (weight and dihedral) which he also felt would keep him awake. He reported that it achieved that goal.

I nominate Jim McLane to go.. (1)

leonneck (913419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658812)

you want to bring the world together? Solve all the problems necessary to bring back the crew. Then go..

one-way trip to mars (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22658816)

I wrote a letter to JPL 8-10 years ago or so and suggested that this was a good idea. Hell, I'd volunteer; the world needs more heroes. Anyway, I got a polite letter back saying that the government would never do such a thing.

And now someone else suggests it and it's big news?

Alton Moore
Mission, TX

Nice. (1)

Aegis Runestone (1248876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658820)

Sounds fun, though, why one-way? Do we want this person to die out there, and for what cause? Just to start on a colony on Mars (Rhyme not intended)? Or just to have a human experience a new planet for him/herself? These are daunting questions, and who has the answers?

Hey, that's my video game idea! (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658824)

My really stupid shooter, Independent (which you can reg code 1138), has that exact thesis. A guy goes to another planet on a one way trip.

Seriously, I've given this some thought, and one way trips to another planet aren't unthinkable. There's always going to be someone that doesn't like the Earth, for perhaps religious or political reasons, and moving to another planet always seems like an attractive option.

Why not closer? (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658830)

Wouldn't there be more merit to have one big space station that's self sufficient? We can get artificial gravity from centripetal force to maintain their health too. This would be a much greater benefit since it provides a lab with no gravity where a vacuum is readily available. You'd be surprised what those two factors alone could help researchers. Especially in material fabrication and pharmaceuticals.

I guess Modest Mouse had it right... (1)

ZipR (584654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658836)

space travel is boring.

I, for one, (3, Interesting)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658856)

...volunteer for this suicide mission. and I do not hesitate in that answer.

(fyi: link /.'ed)

Red Mars (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658886)

Kim Stanley Robinson suggested something like this in Red Mars. First bunch of people sent are highly motivated types who know they have no way to return. They are on their own, having only the supplies and equipment dropped ahead of time, and have to rely on their own abilities to survive.

Not quite right (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658902)

He is correct that it should be a 1 way mission. But he is wrong about the count. It should not include 1 person, but about 6 ppl. The reality is that the first party to go to mars should be focused on EXTENDING a base. The base should already be built by robotics. It would be fairly easy to do assuming energy. So where do get the energy from? 3 possible sources.
  1. Nukes is about our best bet. Sadly, ppl fight that. But the Japaneses system that is designed to support 10-100 MW would be ideal (20 MW, for 30+ years).
  2. Solar being beamed. A simple power sat above that beams down the energy. Probably not a bad way to disribute power around the planet, but I would not want to depend on it.
  3. Geo-thermal. There is some very good indication that there is heat close to the surface in several areas. That could change everything. Provide clean power and heat. I would still prefer the above as well.
Once we have energy there, it is easy to have robots build. Even a remote control arm can work at burying several Bigelow systems. Once buried AND a garden is started for food, then we are good to go. There is no doubt that many ppl would volunteer. I know that If I were younger, I would.

BTW, one weird idea would be to send a bunch of women and have them serve as incubators. In particular, if we send several missions of women AND zygotes, then we can grow a colony there. It may be a lot cheap approach to guarantee bio-diversity. In fact, I would think that once we have several small groups there, that we should send not just human zygotes, but also seeds and a number of animal zygotes. it would be useful for just in case.

Men from Mars (1)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22658916)

Woman from Venus!

in that case make sure we send a woman then the men already on Mars can breed!!
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