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Mars Space Transportation Science

Scientists Propose One-Way Trips To Mars 839

vortex2.71 writes "Invoking the spirit of Star Trek in a scholarly article entitled 'To Boldly Go,' two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return. 'The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,' said Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, who wrote the article in the latest Journal of Cosmology with Paul Davies of Arizona State University. The colleagues state — in one of 55 articles in the issue devoted to exploring Mars — that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth."
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Scientists Propose One-Way Trips To Mars

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  • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:31PM (#34232444) Homepage
    can't be much more expensive than keeping them in prison for 40-50 years

    Ah, yes, the slashdot we all know and love. Some bozo claiming that it costs about the same to keep a person locked up in federal prison as it does to send him 45 light-minutes away to a place with no water and practically no atmosphere where absolutely everything will have to be sent up there. And of course, not even a symbolic attempt at showing some cost estimates. Yes indeed.

    I vote we send all of the "Get our asses to Mars" crowd and leave them there. BTW, they should fund it themselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:44PM (#34232650)

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a new meme!

  • by phyrexianshaw.ca ( 1265320 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:51PM (#34232738) Homepage
    and actually, (having just done the math):

    Mars is anywhere from 55M - 401M KM from the earth (depending on where they both are on their rotations)

    that means at c, light would take between ~3 and ~22 minutes to reach mars from the earth.
  • Supernova!? (Score:2, Informative)

    by pladdtn82 ( 692156 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:52PM (#34232768)

    "We are on a vulnerable planet," Schulze-Makuch said. "Asteroid impact can threaten us, or a supernova explosion. If we want to survive as a species, we have to expand into the solar system and likely beyond."

    I'm pretty sure any nearby supernova that threatened Earth would be pretty efficient at ending life on Mars, too.

  • I'd go. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fzz ( 153115 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:22PM (#34233252)
    I'm in my early 40s. In 20 years time (when they'd be ready) I'll be in my early 60s. My kids will have left home, and I'll be looking forward to an unexciting retirement. I'm reasonably fit, I've got 20 years of experience as a scientist, some experience as a pilot, and I'm a pretty good general purpose engineer. I'm also pretty self-reliant. Probably roughly the sort of person they'd want.

    Would I go? You bet I would. I'm quite serious. I'd far rather do something incredible and useful with the little time I have left than sit around gardening or playing golf.

    I'd still go if I knew there were only enough resources to last me 6 months on Mars, and then I had to quietly pop the little red pill. Trading 6 months doing something completely amazing for 20 (expected) rather boring years going slowly senile seems a pretty good trade to me. I'll bet there are quite a few people like me out there.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:50PM (#34233758)
    There is absolutely nothing we could do to Earth, not even a full scale nuclear war, that could make Earth more hostile to life than Mars is. If it doesn't turn into a black hole, it will always be the most comfortable natural body in the solar system, no matter how hard we try to destroy it.
  • Re:save the humans! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @04:09PM (#34234888) Homepage Journal

    Nice, but missing the point. The problem of a "catastrophic event" is not that global warming will kill us all. We can fix that. Well, maybe we can. What we can't fix is a piece of rock the size of Greater London falling on our heads and wiping out 90% of the life forms on the planet once more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @04:29PM (#34235140)

    We're straining to put a solar powered golf cart on Mars.

    We're not 'straining'. Putting a rover on Mars costs something in the order of $1 - 2 billion. That's the price of 5 - 10 major Hollywood blockbusters or the development cost of, I don't know, the wing of a fighter jet. We've chosen not to invest in Mars, that's all.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @04:53PM (#34235448) Homepage Journal
    No, the problem is that the Palestinians want a small strip of land without any Jews on it. Or Jews on any land, anywhere.
  • by fusiongyro ( 55524 ) <faxfreemosquito@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday November 15, 2010 @07:59PM (#34237238) Homepage

    The Israelis just want to live on the land they were born on, just like Americans and everyone else.

    The Zionists who settled Israel actually seriously considered getting a piece of land in Africa or America instead. Most of the land they settled on was uninhabited and purchased from the previous owners.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"