5 February 2009
Would You Go?
Posted by Ryan Anderson
Imagine you were given the chance of a lifetime: you would launch on the largest rocket ever created, on a daring mission never before attempted. Like the arrow from a marksman’s bow, your rocket would fly unfaltering through space for six months. For six months you would communicate with Earth, monitor your progress, and fight the atrophy of microgravity. And then your travels would culminate in seven minutes of scorching plasma, g-forces and radio static. Finally, you would don your space-suit, open the airlock and step out onto the frigid, ruddy surface of Mars: your new home.
Every human being back on Earth would be swept up in your historic voyage. Your first step onto the Red Planet would become the pinnacle of human acheivement. As you explored your landing site, studied the rocks, analyzed the sampled in the laboraory onboard your ship, you would revolutionize our understanding of Mars, and help to solve the question of whether there ever was life there (before you, that is).
So, given that opportunity to achieve the impossible, a sure place in history, and the possibility of solving some of the most outstanding questions in science, would you go if you couldn’t come back? Would you be willing to forgo the comforts of life on the Earth for the chance to leave your mark on history forever?
It’s a compelling question, and as I read this excellent article by James McLane at Search Magazine, it’s the very question I was asking myself. I don’t know my answer. But I do know this, as McLane says, the person who undertook a one-way journey to Mars would surpass fame, would surpass even history. They would become legend.
McLane makes an excellent case for a one-way mission to Mars. It is technologically far more feasible than a round trip. Great science could be done, and resupply from Earth would allow the mission to potentially last a long time. You could still communicate with Earth, so despite the solitude, you could hear and see loved ones and friends left behind. And public interest in space would skyrocket. The Mission to Mars would be the topic of every discussion. Families would gather around the TV to watch the latest report from the daring Martian(s), and, I suspect, there would be thousands of volunteers for the next mission.
Whether any agency would be willing to make such a bold move, I don’t know. I think it’s doubtful. But it is excellent food for thought, and McLane’s article is well worth reading. Go check it out, and then come back here and tell me: Would you go?
In a heartbeat.
Yes, I’d go.
But I want to bring enough tools and equipment so that I can raise my own food and make my own air and water; to be self-reliant as much as possible.
i’d like to go the same way eric wants.
But i’d also ask to take a Stereo a Tv and computer,
to when the primary goals are finished i could enjoy my self a little bit.
No space agency is ever going to run a suicide mission like that.
Yes, but with one thing made clear: I wouldn’t go to die on Mars, I go to live on Mars.
It’s not a suicide mission if you do it right. Heck, even if you mess it up you might still get a few good years of life on another planet. And you would be *legend*.
OK, two things made clear: it’s a two-seater. Peril is one thing but long-distance relationships are right out. 🙂
[…] at The Martian Chronicles, Ryan Anderson asks a compelling question after reading an article by James McLane about the […]
I’ve already been told by my wife, “Don’t even think about it!”
I think the problem with this idea is that it assumes that only one mission will be flown, ever. I think that people will only go to Mars in person if the agency spending all that money expects it to be a going concern with some kind of regular return on investment. Also, if they were going to send enough supplies and equipment to start a greenhouse farm on Mars, they could also spare the expense to send an in-situ propellant production plant. After all, fuel is the biggest item by mass that restricts the return trip, and anybody living there long-term is gonna need a power supply and a water source, so if you ramp it up big enough, you can build your propellant plant.
So the closest I could see to this scenario panning out is a little squad of astronauts having to live there for maybe ten years straight while their agency slowly sends up the equipment cache.
I will go and will not come back.
I am ready to be a real explorer, and to die on Mars.
I would go and stay, but it would be nice for people on round trips to stop by.
The lag on the internet would be so bad. I would have the worst ping ever while staying on mars. No Xbox Live for me :). LAN party on Mars…
Only if at least 99 other people were willing to go with me…
If the private space industry ever gets its act together, you will see a mass migration of humans off this planet and into deep space.
Mars will be a popular destination, of course. And most will never come back, just like those who went from Europe to the New World, or from Africa into the rest of the planet Earth ages ago.
Life is always on the move for new territory and resources. Space will not stop them, only our potential for self-destruction.
Not like we are not coming back. In fact coming back would be crucial for the endeavour missions because of the value of the scientific analysis could be done on the first mission astronauts.
If we are going there, we are going to stay. It’s not just erecting another milestone; it’s about continuing the human species. We are going to run out of resources here on Earth in 20 years and we better find some genius way to conserve the remaining resources or find another spawning pool.