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Mars Science

Over 1000 Volunteers For 'Suicide' Mission To Mars 453

New submitter thAMESresearcher writes with a few updates on Mars One: "The Dutch company Mars One is organizing a one way mission to Mars 2023. In a press release that came out today, they say they have over a thousand applicants already. In the press release they also mention that they are now a not-for-profit Foundation. It sounds ambitious, but they have a Nobel prize winner, an astronaut, and several people from NASA on their board." The actual selection process starts early next year.
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Over 1000 Volunteers For 'Suicide' Mission To Mars

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  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @10:41AM (#42191437) Homepage

    The thing about suicide missions most people aren't considering is body disposal. There must be an effective and sanitary means of handling the body. It would be nice if they could make soylent green, but at the very least there should be a device which would render a body as "gone" in a clean and sanitary manner. A body disposal bot would be pretty ideal... "bring out your dead... bring out your dead..."

    Anyway, I'd be all for it. I have produced three viable offspring and don't plan to produce more. If departure is within the next 20 years, I'll be a perfect candidate for such a mission... I doubt my wife would agree though.

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @10:48AM (#42191551)

    On Mars it's known as Outside.

  • Yeah you're right, we should never have climed down from the trees, or walk out of the sea for that matter...
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @10:59AM (#42191679) Homepage

    I think that even some royalty probably said the same about traders who crossed the Atlantic, or tried to climb certain ranges of mountain to get to the next village, or ride the around around certain Cape around South Africa at some point.

    You don't need to be stupid to want to go live on a planet of your own (effectively), especially if follow-up missions are likely. You *do* need to screen people for suicidal tendencies, because that can be a major factor - but there's nothing to say that a perfectly sane person wouldn't choose suicide in tough circumstances like they are likely to face anyway.

    In fact, one of Man's greatest moments was called "stupid" at the time and ended up suicides. Or you wouldn't know *shit* about the South Pole now.

    "I may be some time" doesn't ring a bell about one of our greatest explorers ever?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:01AM (#42191707) Journal

    The thing about suicide missions most people aren't considering is body disposal. There must be an effective and sanitary means of handling the body. It would be nice if they could make soylent green, but at the very least there should be a device which would render a body as "gone" in a clean and sanitary manner.

    Deathstills, clearly. A man's flesh is his own, his water belongs to the other astronauts.

  • ..Suicide? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:16AM (#42191869)

    Suicide? More like immortality.

    The greatest privilege I can imagine is the chance to live out your years on a frontier, working your fingers to the bone every day to up the survival chances for everyone else. It would be a rough haul, that's for sure - but like bacteria, you'd dying to prepare the ground for later life.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:49AM (#42192221)

    a one-way mission is not a suicide mission, resupply is a much easier and less resource intensive operation. You are merely judging more adventurous people, those with a pioneering spirit, by your very sheltered and coddled lifestyle.

  • by Wdi ( 142463 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:49AM (#42192233)

    They are now starting the astronaut selection program for a trip in 10 years, but there is no indication whatever that they are concerned about the much more fundamental task of designing a transport ship?!?! Really, really suspicious. What are the prospects supposed to train on/for ?

    "People in thirty seven countries have purchased our merchandise, demonstrating their support for Mars One"

    OK, I understand. Presumably the foundation managers are well paid. That is no problem even for a non-profit.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:03PM (#42192383) Homepage Journal

    I have traveled literally millions of miles in my lifetime, just to see what lay over the horizon, as often as not. I was fortunate enough that other people paid for my traveling, so I was able to earn a living. But, the travel is what it has all been about.

    So - tell me again about stupidity and suicide, please?

    At age 56, and with bad knees, moving my carcass to a planet with lower gravity would be a nice thing. Throw in the new horizons, and it's a complete win-win situation for me. Suicide? Driving to work is a suicidal stunt, in and of itself, for most Americans.

  • Don't talk crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#42192521) Homepage

    "That would contaminate the soil forever."

    It would contaminate nothing. The body's water would freeze dry within hours and the UV radiation and near vacuum would make sure any organics soon decomposed or evaporated and the ice itself would sublime eventually. All you'd be left with after a few years would be minerals from the bones and teeth.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:23PM (#42192601) Homepage

    "Some people find the geological and potential biological history of Mars intensely interesting."

    I doubt many of them find it interesting enough that the prospect of eternal exile and a lingering death will appeal to them.

    "there's plenty of people who risk their lives on a regular basis working hazardous jobs and playing extreme sports."

    Extreme sports are done by adrenaline junkies - effectively drug addicts. They're the last sort of people you want on a space mission. As for risky jobs , sure there are plenty , but generally they provide financial rewards and you generally get to go out with your family at the w/e - not just have to go back to some small module you're sharing with a load of maladjusted individuals.

    "except that you're risking your life for a far more magnificent cause"

    Well, thats your opinion. The Apollo astronauts knew they'd be home within 3 days if everything went ok. This is a whole different ball game.

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:26PM (#42192633) Journal

    So like Polo, Columbus, Magellan, Hillary, Wright, Gagarin, Armstrong and a whole host of other people who volunteered or took on the adventure of going somewhere where no one else had been.

    Yeah, those are the last type of people we want to go to Mars. :eyeroll:

  • Re:Don't talk crap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SilentStaid ( 1474575 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:32PM (#42192695)

    All you'd be left with after a few years would be minerals from the bones and teeth.

    In other words... contamination?

  • Re:Don't talk crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:42PM (#42192801) Homepage

    What do you think all the dead space probes already on the surface are? Besides which , if humanity is to be a permanent presence on mars which is the whole premise behind the mission then "contamination" is inevitable.

  • by lenart ( 582259 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:41PM (#42194381) Homepage Journal

    And why would that be a problem? We're not talking about a temporary experiment setup for fun. The goal is colonization! Looking at all previous colonization efforts (of which the USA is most probably the clearest example) contamination of the local flora and fauna is a certainty. Just look around and count the number of bison's, native americans and horses. As a reference, the continent used to be filled by the first two and devoid of the last (for the last 10.000 years or so of course).

    In addition to that, would it not make sense to have the people on Mars search for proof BEFORE they kick the bucket? And when we contaminate the soil in a way that makes it impossible to detect signs of life native to Mars with our current detection techniques, we will have to invent new ones. It's been going on for about 150 years on earth. Hell, we've even found a name for it: Scientific Progress!

  • by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:55PM (#42199427) Homepage Journal
    > Doing "not so well" doesn't mean that they can't do well enough.

    I don't think you've grasped the magnitude of exactly how much atmosphere Mars doesn't have. The surface pressure is zero point something kPa. That's REALLY low pressure. Water at pressures that low is a vapor regardless of temperature. It can't solidify (on its own), let alone exist as a liquid. A standard college physics classroom vacuum pump can't create a vacuum with pressure that low.

    For comparison, standard pressure on Earth at sea level is 101.325 kPa. On top of Mt. Everest, the pressure is about a third of standard, which is still somewhere around 50 or 100 times as much pressure as on Mars.

    > I wouldn't rule out altogether an engineered species tailored for Mars.

    To function in the near-vacuum of Mars, it would need to be engineered to be significantly different from anything found on Earth, except perhaps a small handful of anaerobic microbes, and I'm not even sure about those. Even most Earth life that can *survive* pressure that low can't perform metabolic functions to any significant extent without some source of metabolic gasses -- they just wait until they get some air and then start back up again. The ones that don't need oxygen generally need something else, and on Mars they won't have it -- unless you keep them in a pressurized container of some sort.

    > It's worth noting that there is a huge gap
    > between the worst survivable environments
    > of Earth and the best of Mars.

    Yes, exactly. It's not even really comparable.

    > Carbon dioxide partial pressure is actually
    > higher for Mars than Earth

    I can cut a thirty-inch super-extra-large pizza into six slices and give you just one slice -- only a sixth of the pizza. Or, if you prefer, I can make a pizza an eighth of an inch in diameter and use a microscope and precision laser to cut that eighth-inch-diameter pizza into twenty slices and give you nineteen of those slices -- almost the whole pizza. Which is more? This is admittedly a simplification. Partial pressure does also matter, up to a point -- but only up to a point. When you're comparing the atmosphere of Mars to Earth, any small advantage Mars might have in the partial pressure department is overwhelmingly dwarfed to nothingness by the spectacular disadvantage in absolute pressure.

    I do not for one minute believe that Earth's lichens (let alone the plain old green algae that terraforming enthusiasts always think is magic) will grow on Mars (except in a pressurized container). There isn't any air. Plants don't grow unless they're immersed in air (or water or something).

System checkpoint complete.