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September 27, 2011

"The Fastest Way to Send Humans to Mars is to Not Worry About Bringing Them Back"

An article recently posted by the Seattle Times discussed a recent article some scientists had written to send astronauts to mars without scheduling the return flight. As you all know the journey to mars would be the most dangerous task any space program has attempted in the history of the world. Getting to mars alone would be tough enough, however the return trip would be even harder. Departing the planet of mars brings about much more risk than when we departed the moon. This got some scientists into thinking, "what if we sent astronauts to mars, and left them there." The mission would allow these astronauts to conduct research and find a shelter somewhere on the desolate planet. The scientists stated that the astronauts would have to be older than 60 so reproduction would not be an option. When NASA was asked about the idea they replied, "We want our people back.".....This was one of the strangest articles I've read. It was very interesting to hear an idea that is way out of the "normal" realm.

Geranios, Nicholas. "Scientists Propose One-Way Trip to Mars." Seattle Times
Online. N.p., 15 Nov. 2010. Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

Posted by balerner at September 27, 2011 12:02 AM


What a strange article. sending astronauts to Mars and taking the huge risk of not scheduling a return date. I don't think this will happen anytime soon, especially if NASA doesn't support it (at the moment). Good luck finding someone willing to go to Mars and potentially never returning...

Posted by: mhymes at September 27, 2011 03:05 PM

I think you would be surprised as to how many people are willing to go to Mars without wanting to return. Anyone who aspires to be an astronaut puts their entire life into it, and anyone who goes into space has to go into it without the expectation of coming back, because of the high risk of death. It is an interesting idea to send people into space without expecting them back, and in some ways I understand how it seems legitimate, and not laughable.

Posted by: ballo at September 28, 2011 04:34 PM

I think that if there are volunteers fully willing to further human knowledge and travel to Mars, then NASA should consent. Of course this would bring about a number of moral issues, but if the person is indeed a volunteer why not?

Posted by: kimnath at September 28, 2011 11:40 PM

I think you would be surprised, space.com ran this article about a year ago and I vaguely remember the poll they posted with the article and I'm pretty sure the majority of the people responding said they would go. http://www.space.com/9369-mars-bust-trip-red-planet-kick-start-colonization.html
Notice the first comment on this, "Can I go please?"
I guarantee that if NASA asked for volunteers for this kind of a trip, they would have a ton of people lining up to go to Mars and I would probably be one of them

Posted by: dhupp at September 29, 2011 03:02 PM

I doubt the US will do this, but maybe the Russians would do this.

Posted by: halljo at September 29, 2011 04:41 PM

Ha! Interestingly enough, I don't think NASA would have any trouble finding astronauts willing to do this. The fact that someone else proposed that rather than those astronauts volunteering is a bit alarming, however.

Posted by: tmthirty at September 29, 2011 09:49 PM

The problem with this idea is that nobody is going to want to go to Mars and never return. Especially since they need people who are physically fit and scientifically inclined. That combination alone seems unlikely, then you have to factor in the fact that they may never return, it just seems improbable to me. That being said, the idea itself is a good one, it would certainly make things less complicated and we would be able to get information that is difficult to get with a rover. But I don't see this happening any time soon, I can't imagine anyone would want to say goodbye to their friends and family to be stuck on Mars forever.

Posted by: jajud at September 30, 2011 10:40 AM

Making a trip to Mars, especially at this point in the timeline, is really risky. I don't think we have the resources or the man-power to send scientists or any other human to the Mars just yet and be able to send them back in one piece.

Posted by: duymo at September 30, 2011 10:58 AM

Wow, I fully support of NASA's decision in "wanting their people back." I feel that astronauts sacrifice enough by going through all the training and the intense simulations that they deserve to know that they are respected and honored. The astronauts deserve to return home and should not be forced to be stranded on a foreign planet and left to die in isolation, even if they were to obtain information and successfully send it back.

Posted by: nzingas at September 30, 2011 07:49 PM

I agree that this is a strange article, I don't think that anyone would want to go to Mars if they could never come back. Even though it is difficult for a return trip, I don't think that astronauts should be left there. I'm glad that NASA has replied and said that they want there astronauts back.

Posted by: mrkapila at September 30, 2011 09:01 PM

Although there may be someone out there who would risk their life so that we can gain more knowledge of the cosmos, at this current time and state of technology we would not be able to respond to the discoveries made from such a sacrifice. It would be wise to wait until technology is such that we can explore our neighboring planets faster, so that not only can we save needless self-sacrifice, but so we can also put these discoveries to larger use.

Posted by: davidnug at October 7, 2011 10:49 AM

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