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Mars Earth Space Science

First Mars-Goers Should Prepare For a One-Way Trip 528

Luminary Crush writes with this excerpt from PhysOrg about the permanance of leaving Earth for Mars, at least for early travelers: "The first astronauts sent to Mars should be prepared to spend the rest of their lives there, in the same way that European pioneers headed to America knowing they would not return home, says moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. '[the distance and difficulty is why you should] send people there permanently,' Aldrin said. 'If we are not willing to do that, then I don't think we should just go once and have the expense of doing that and then stop.'" On the other hand, maybe they'll catch a ride back with Carrie-Anne Moss.
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First Mars-Goers Should Prepare For a One-Way Trip

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  • by notaspy ( 457709 ) <> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:11PM (#25485941)

    The American pioneers were preceded by explorers ....

    The first human pioneers to Mars have already been preceded by explorers. Most, if not all, of the work to be done in preparation for colonization has and will be done remotely via robots, satellites and the like, an option unavailable in the 1500's and 1600's.

  • Well, yes...and no. (Score:4, Informative)

    by mbessey ( 304651 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:13PM (#25485979) Homepage Journal

    Have you seen the maps that the settlers of the US western territories used? Not what you're probably thinking of when you make a mental image of "map", I assure you.

    Most navigation of the West in the early days was done landmark-to-landmark. Between and around the known landmarks was just wide open empty spaces. A lot of settlement parties tried various promising shortcuts through places like the Great Salt Desert and Death Valley, which worked out well for some, less well for others.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:20PM (#25486111) Homepage

    Yeah, you probably should have just read the article.

  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gospodin ( 547743 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:36PM (#25486389)

    Columbus was backed by a government and made several trips back and forth. It was only after he went that settlers followed.

    Not only that - plenty of American settlers went back home. Check out the history of the first Roanoke colony. (The first one, not the one mysteriously wiped out that left only the word Croatoan carved into a tree. The first one was taken home by Walter Raleigh when they realized they were in over their heads.)

  • Re:What Rot (Score:4, Informative)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:45PM (#25486569) Journal

    Well, I was a nuclear physicist at a nuclear power station for several years and I can tell you that's hogwash.

  • by MrEkted ( 764569 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:02PM (#25486955)
    Some really smart people disagree [] with the "pointless" part.

    "The human race must move to a star outside our solar system to protect the future of the species," physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
  • Re:What Rot (Score:3, Informative)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:07PM (#25487055)
    That's crap. The containers used in the RTG's can withstand an explosion of the launch vehicle and then be recovered, more or less intact, from where they land. They're also hardened enough to survive re-entry if the vehicle doesn't make it to orbit. The fuel containers for any reactor being assembled on orbit would be of similar quality.
  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikael ( 484 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:09PM (#25487105)

    Side note: Why do you think people in the past have chosen to leave over fixing what is wrong with their governments?

    In England (if not Europe) at the time of the settlers, you had a feudal system with all the land owned by someone and titles granted by the king. Even in the rural villages, what personal freedoms the crown didn't decide, the church would dictate (Even failing to attend church on a Sunday would result in a fine). There wasn't anywhere where you could try and set up your "alternative way of living" without having to get permission from one authority or another to acquire land, employ builders or farmers.

  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:3, Informative)

    by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:22PM (#25487367)
    Really? I think Mars would suck. No internet (or high latency). Few other people & no privacy. It's not like you would be free to roam the planet. You would be stuck in a living chamber. I think it would suck. bad.
  • Re:What Rot (Score:3, Informative)

    by turgid ( 580780 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:50PM (#25488063) Journal

    Indeed. We have nuclear submarines that last 30+ years on a single fuel loading. There is no reason why we can't build re-usable Mars ships that will last as long.

    It is crazy to send people on one-way suicide missions. We are the human race. We owe ourselves better. It's time to start thinking big and positive.

    If this Ares-5 thing gets built, it is alleged that it could carry 133 tonnes to low earth orbit per launch. Talking conservatively, let's say 100 tonnes (100 000 kg). Say we were going to build a Mars ship over a 5 year period with one launch a month. That would be 60 x 100 tonnes. OK, let's be pessimistic and say 50 x 100 tonnes.

    That's a 5000 tonne mission to Mars and back and it could be reused many times. There would be enough mass budget for proper radiation shielding, fish tanks and a garden for growing fruit and vegetables.

  • by RustinHWright ( 1304191 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:41PM (#25491501) Homepage Journal
    In fact, it was addressed pretty well at Universe Today back in March []. They focused on a proposal called "Spirit of the Lone Eagle" by NASA engineer Jim McLane. I could say more but I'll leave it at RTFA.
  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @11:53PM (#25493225) Journal

    Yeah, the puritans were escaping religious fascism, but they were religious fascists themselves. The reality is that those pilgrims burned "witches" at the stake,

    No, they didn't. Though their offspring eventually did...

    By the standards of the day, the Pilgrims were much less fascist than those they were escaping.

    and committed genocide upon the Natives.

    They cooperated with the local tribes, in general. the Pilgrims and the Natives shared their knowledge and resources, and there most certainly was a Thanksgiving feast that lasted for about 3 days, though decidedly far less idealized than it is imagined now (thanks to oversimplification of 30 minute school plays, not any form of propaganda).

    They did fight with some neighboring tribes, and killed many, no doubt, but not just because they could. They did so when some of their own people were killed or resources were stolen, but it should be pointed out that they did so in alliance with their local (friendly) tribe. As part of their alliance with their local native tribe, they also risked their lives fighting in tribal wars that they had no stake in.

    In reality, they simply didn't have the option of doing anything you're accusing them of. They could barely keep a hundred of their own people alive, let alone working, so executing a few healthy individuals for religious failings would have been suicidal. They were heavily outnumbered by natives, and greatly needed the support and trade of some the local natives, so genocide would also have been suicidal, not to mention extremely beyond their means...

    I get the feeling you're confusing the Pilgrims with the Spanish Conquistadors. Completely different area, completely different agenda, completely different capabilities. Completely different history.

    But, hey, you're righteously indignant over SOMETHING, so you get modded up for your ignorance.

  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:3, Informative)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:36AM (#25493593) Journal

    They left Holland because it was "too tolerant". They
    couldn't have their children growing up "metropolitan".

    Last I checked, there was a (yet another) European war looming, and the prospect of Holland getting involved seemed likely, required them to fight, which they did not agree with.

    And Holland wasn't exactly a religious paradise. It was growing less and less tolerant at the time. Xenophobia was increasing, and foreigners often weren't able to take on just about any job, requiring many of them to survive on their savings.

    And pressure was being put by the King of England, regarding "his" ex-pat subjects... National borders weren't quite as sovereign as they are today. And while they were allowed to operate under the radar, the prospect of a growing congregation made seemed likely to result in the group's expulsion.

  • Re:Who Chooses? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning@netzero. n e t> on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:04AM (#25494945) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, the Puritans who woke up one morning, realized "I'm living with a bunch of fucking lunatics!", and then decided to leave and live with the Natives wound up being hunted down and killed by the other Puritans. But you are right. Those that had gumption and some luck, especially as late as the 18th and 19th centuries, could escape and live with one of the Native American tribes.

    Does this include Roger Williams []? Seriously, learn a little bit of American history and read the article if you've never heard of him. His philosophies can be directly attributed to what later became the 1st Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution, particularly the religious liberty clause, and the lack of this in the Constitution is what caused Rhode Island to be reluctant to ratify that document.

    I'm not suggesting that the Puritans weren't pricks and hunted down those who wanted to leave their society, but there were successful groups that basically told the Massachusetts political leaders to "go to hell!" Connecticut and Vermont also had similar histories in terms of people getting out of Massachusetts because they didn't like what was going on there.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.