Mars to Stay

Mars to Stay

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Mars to Stay missions propose astronauts sent to Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 for the first time should stay there indefinitely, both to reduce cost and to ensure permanent settlement of Mars
Colonization of Mars
The colonization of Mars by humans is the focus of speculation and serious study because the surface conditions and availability of water on Mars make it arguably the most hospitable planet in the solar system other than Earth...

. Among many notable Mars to Stay advocates, former Apollo astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

 has been particularly outspoken, suggesting in numerous forums "Forget the Moon, Let’s Head to Mars!". The Mars Underground, Mars Homestead Foundation, and Mars Artists Community have also adopted Mars to Stay policy initiatives. The earliest formal outline of a Mars to Stay mission architecture was given at the Case for Mars VI Workshop in 1990, during a presentation by George Herbert titled "One Way to Mars."

Original Aldrin Plan


Under Mars to Stay mission architectures the first humans to travel to Mars would typically be in six-member teams. After this initial landing subsequent missions raise the number of persons on the Martian surface to 30, thereby beginning a Martian settlement. Since the Martian surface offers all the natural resources and elements necessary to sustain human society—unlike, for example the Moon—a permanent Martian settlement is thought to be the most effective way to ensure humankind becomes a space-faring, multi-planet species. Through the use of digital fabricators and in vitro fertilisation
In vitro fertilisation
In vitro fertilisation is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed...

 it is assumed a permanent human settlement on Mars can grow organically from an original thirty to forty pioneers.

A Mars to Stay mission following Aldrin's proposal would enlist astronauts in the following timeline:
  • Age 30: an offer to help settle Mars is extended to select pioneers
  • Age 30-35: training and social conditioning for long-duration isolation and time-delay communications
  • Age 35: launch three married couples to Mars; followed in subsequent years by a dozen or more couples
  • Age 35-65: development of sheltered underground living spaces; artificial insemination ensures genetic diversity
  • Age 65: an offer to return to Earth or retire on Mars is given to first generation settlers


As Aldrin has said, "…who knows what advances will have taken place. The first generation can retire there, or maybe we can bring them back."

Hundred Year Starship Initiative


On October 2010 NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden introduced the Hundred Year Starship initiative, a project to embark on a one-way mission from Earth to Mars by 2030. The astronauts would be sent supplies from Earth regularly. The mission is planned to take place no earlier than 2030. Controversy immediately arose over the name of the enterprise, given that Mars settlement could have begun within five years of the announcement -- rather than portrayed as an exotic "100 year" fantasy.

To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars


The October-November, 2010, Journal of Cosmology
Journal of Cosmology
Journal of Cosmology describes itself as a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal of cosmology, although the quality of the process has been questioned. The journal was established in 2009 and is published by Cosmology Science Publishers...

reprinted an article by Dirk Schulze-Makuch (Washington State University
Washington State University
Washington State University is a public research university based in Pullman, Washington, in the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1890, WSU is the state's original and largest land-grant university...

) and Paul Davies (Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

) from the book The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet." Highlights of their mission plan are:
  • No base on the Moon is needed. Given the broad variety of resources available on Mars, the long-term survival of Martian settlers is much more feasible than Lunar settlers.
  • Since Mars affords neither an ozone shield nor magnetospheric protection, robots would prepare a basic modular base inside near-surface lava tubes and ice caves for the human settlers.
  • A volunteer signing up for a one-way mission to Mars would do so with the full understanding that he or she will not return to Earth; Mars exploration would proceed for a long time on the basis of outbound journeys only.
  • The first human contingent would consist of a crew of four, ideally (if budget permits) distributed between two two-man spacecraft for mission redundancy.
  • Over time humans on Mars will increase with follow-up missions. Several subsurface biospheres would be created until there were 150+ individuals in a viable gene pool. Genetic engineering would further contribute to the health and longevity of settlers.

Initial and permanent settlement


Initial explorers leave equipment in orbit and at landing zones scattered considerable distances from the main settlement. Subsequent missions therefore are assumed to become easier and safer to undertake, with the likelihood of back-up equipment being present if accidents in transit or landing occur.

Large subsurface, pressurized habitats would be the first step toward human settlement; as Dr. Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and author, best known for his advocacy of the manned exploration of Mars. He was the driving force behind Mars Direct—a proposal intended to produce significant reductions in the cost and complexity of such a mission...

 suggests in the first chapter of his book Mars Direct
Mars Direct
Mars Direct is a proposal for a manned mission to Mars. Proponents of the scheme have claimed it to be both cost-effective and that it can be conducted with current technology. It was originally detailed in a research paper by NASA engineers Robert Zubrin and David Baker in 1990, and later expanded...

these structures can be built as Roman
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

-style atria in mountainsides or underground with easily produced Martian brick. During and after this initial phase of habitat construction, hard-plastic radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

 and abrasion-resistant geodesic domes could be deployed on the surface for eventual habitation and crop growth. Nascent industry would begin using indigenous resources: the manufacture of plastics, ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

s and glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 could be easily achieved.

The longer-term work of terraforming
Terraforming
Terraforming of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to those of Earth, in order to make it habitable by terrestrial organisms.The term is sometimes used more generally as a...

 Mars requires an initial phase of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 to release atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

 from the Martian regolith
Regolith
Regolith is a layer of loose, heterogeneous material covering solid rock. It includes dust, soil, broken rock, and other related materials and is present on Earth, the Moon, some asteroids, and other terrestrial planets and moons.-Etymology:...

 and to create a water-cycle
Water cycle
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and solid at various places in the water cycle...

. There would be no cost issue associated to terraforming as it would be in the best interest of settlers to make sure that their daily activities positively influence the improvement of the environment. Three methods of global warming are described by Zubrin, who suggests they are best deployed in tandem: orbital mirrors to heat the surface; factories on the ground to pump halocarbons into the atmosphere; and the seeding of bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 which can metabolize water, nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 and carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 to produce ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 and methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 (these gases would aid in global warming). While the work of terraforming Mars is on-going, robust settlement of Mars can continue.

The Case for Mars
The Case For Mars
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must is a nonfiction science book by Robert Zubrin, first published in 1996....

acknowledges any Martian colony will be partially Earth-dependent for centuries. However, Zubrin suggests Mars may be profitable for two reasons. First, it may contain concentrated supplies of metals equal to or of greater value than silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, which have not been subjected to millennia of human scavenging; it is suggested such ores may be sold on Earth for profit. Secondly, the concentration of deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

–an extremely expensive but essential fuel for the as-yet non-existent nuclear fusion power industry–is five times greater on Mars. Humans emigrating to Mars, under this paradigm, thus have an assured industry; it is assumed the planet will be a magnet for settlers as wage costs will be high. Because of the labor shortage on Mars and its subsequent high pay-scale, Martian civilization and the value placed upon each individual's productivity is proposed as a future engine of both technological and social advancement.

Risks



In the fifth chapter of "Mars Direct", Zubrin dismisses the idea that radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

 and zero-gravity are unduly hazardous. He claims that cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 rates do increase for astronauts who have spent extensive time in space, but only marginally. Similarly, while zero-gravity presents challenges, near total recovery of musculature and immune system vitality is assumed once on the Martian surface. Back-contamination
Back-contamination
Back-contamination is the informal but widely employed name for the hypothetical introduction of microbial extraterrestrial organisms into Earth's biosphere. It is assumed that any such contact will be disruptive or at least have consequences over which human beings will have little control...

 — humans acquiring and spreading Martian viruses — is described as "just plain nuts", because there are no host organisms on Mars for disease organisms to have evolved.

In the same chapter, Zubrin decisively denounces and rejects suggestions that the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 should be used as waypoint to Mars or as a preliminary training area. "It is ultimately much easier to journey to Mars from low Earth orbit than from the Moon and using the latter as a staging point is a pointless diversion of resources." While the Moon may superficially appear a good place to perfect Mars exploration and habitation techniques, the two bodies are radically different. The Moon has no atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

, no analogous geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 and a much greater temperature range and rotational period of illumination. It is argued Antarctica, desert areas of Earth, and precisely controlled chilled vacuum chambers on easily accessible NASA centers on Earth provide much better training grounds at lesser cost.

Public reception



"Should the United States space program send a mission to Mars, those astronauts should be prepared to stay there," said Lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin during a high-profile, widely reported interview on "Mars to Stay" initiatives. The time and expense required to send astronauts to Mars, argues Aldrin, "warrants more than a brief sojourn, so those who are on board should think of themselves as pioneers. Like the Pilgrims who came to the New World or the families who headed to the Wild West, they should not plan on coming back home." The Moon is a shorter trip of two or three days, but according to Mars advocates it offers virtually no potential for independent settlements. Studies have found that Mars, on the other hand, has vast reserves of frozen water, all of the basic elements, and more closely mimics both gravitational and illumination conditions on Earth. "It is easier to subsist, to provide the support needed for people there than on the Moon." In an interview with reporters, the second man to set foot on the Moon said the Red Planet offered far greater potential than Earth's satellite as a place for habitation.

"If we are going to put a few people down there and ensure their appropriate safety, would you then go through all that trouble and then bring them back immediately, after a year, a year and a half?" Aldrin asks. "They need to go there more with the psychology of knowing that you are a pioneering settler and you don't look forward to go back home again after a couple of years," he said.

The most comprehensive statement of a rationale for "Mars to Stay" was laid out by Dr. Aldrin in a May 2009 Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics is an American magazine first published January 11, 1902 by H. H. Windsor, and has been owned since 1958 by the Hearst Corporation...

 article, as follows:


"The ­agency’s current Vision for Space Exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 will waste decades and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to reach the Moon by 2020—a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago. Instead of a steppingstone to Mars, NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

’s current lunar plan is a detour. It will derail our Mars effort, siphoning off money and engineering talent for the next two decades. If we aspire to a long-term human presence on Mars—and I believe that should be our overarching goal for the foreseeable future—we must drastically change our focus. Our purely exploratory efforts should aim higher than a place we’ve already set foot on six times. In recent years my philosophy on colonizing Mars has evolved. I now believe that human visitors to the Red Planet should commit to staying there permanently. One-way tickets to Mars will make the missions technically easier and less expensive and get us there sooner. More importantly, they will ensure that our Martian outpost steadily grows as more homesteaders arrive. Instead of explorers, one-way Mars travelers will be 21st-century pilgrims, pioneering a new way of life. It will take a special kind of person. Instead of the traditional pilot/scientist/engineer, Martian homesteaders will be selected more for their personalities—flexible, inventive and determined in the face of unpredictability. In short, survivors.”


The Mars Artists Community has adopted Mars to Stay as their primary policy initiative. During a 2009 public hearing of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee at which Dr. Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin
Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and author, best known for his advocacy of the manned exploration of Mars. He was the driving force behind Mars Direct—a proposal intended to produce significant reductions in the cost and complexity of such a mission...

 presented a summary of the arguments in book The Case for Mars
The Case For Mars
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must is a nonfiction science book by Robert Zubrin, first published in 1996....

, dozens of placards reading "Mars Direct
Mars Direct
Mars Direct is a proposal for a manned mission to Mars. Proponents of the scheme have claimed it to be both cost-effective and that it can be conducted with current technology. It was originally detailed in a research paper by NASA engineers Robert Zubrin and David Baker in 1990, and later expanded...

 Cowards Return to the Moon" were placed throughout the Carnegie Institute
Carnegie Institution for Science
The Carnegie Institution for Science is an organization in the United States established to support scientific research....

. The passionate uproar among space exploration advocates - both favorable and critical - resulted in the Mars Artists Community creating several dozen more designs, with such slogans as, "Traitors Return to Earth" and "What Would Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

 Do?"

In October 2009, Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle wrote of 'Mars to Stay' as perhaps the only program which can revitalize America's space program:

"What if NASA could land astronauts on Mars in a decade, for not ridiculously more money than the $10 billion the agency spends annually on human spaceflight? It's possible, say some space buffs, although there's a catch.
The astronauts we'd send would never come home. Relieving NASA of the need to send fuel and rocketry to blast humans off the Martian surface, which has slightly more than twice the gravity of the moon, would actually reduce costs by about a factor of 10, by some estimates."


Hard Science Fiction
Hard science fiction
Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Islands of Space in Astounding Science...

 writer Mike Brotherton
Mike Brotherton
Mike Brotherton is an American science fiction writer and astronomer. He began writing in 1980.-Biography:Born Michael Brotherton in Granite City, Illinois, Mike grew up in St...

 has found "Mars to Stay" appealing for both economic and safety reasons, but more emphatically, as a fulfillment of the ultimate mandate by which "our manned space program is sold, at least philosophically and long-term, as a step to colonizing other worlds." Two thirds of the respondents to a poll on his website expressed interest in a one-way ticket to Mars "if mission parameters are well-defined" (not suicidal).

June 2010 Buzz Aldrin gave an interview to Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

 in which he restated Mars to Stay:

"Did the Pilgrims on the Mayflower sit around Plymouth Rock waiting for a return trip? They came here to settle. And that’s what we should be doing on Mars. When you go to Mars, you need to have made the decision that you’re there permanently. The more people we have there, the more it can become a sustaining environment. Except for very rare exceptions, the people who go to Mars shouldn’t be coming back. Once you get on the surface, you’re there."


October-November, 2010, Journal of Cosmology
Journal of Cosmology
Journal of Cosmology describes itself as a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal of cosmology, although the quality of the process has been questioned. The journal was established in 2009 and is published by Cosmology Science Publishers...

 reprinted an article by Dirk Schulze-Makuch (Washington State University
Washington State University
Washington State University is a public research university based in Pullman, Washington, in the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1890, WSU is the state's original and largest land-grant university...

) and Paul Davies (Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

) from the book "The Human Mission to Mars. Colonizing the Red Planet." The following summarizes their rationale for Mars to Stay:

"A human mission to Mars is technologically feasible, but hugely expensive requiring enormous financial and political commitments. A creative solution to this dilemma would be a one-way human mission to Mars in place of the manned return mission that remains stuck on the drawing board. Our proposal would cut the costs several fold but ensure at the same time a continuous commitment to the exploration of Mars in particular and space in general. It would also obviate the need for years of rehabilitation for returning astronauts, which would not be an issue if the astronauts were to remain in the low-gravity environment of Mars. We envision that Mars exploration would begin and proceed for a long time on the basis of outbound journeys only."


November 2010 Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann
Keith Theodore Olbermann is an American political commentator and writer. He has been the chief news officer of the Current TV network and the host of Current TV's weeknight political commentary program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, since June 20, 2011...

 starts an interview with Derrick Pitts
Derrick Pitts
Derrick H. Pitts is an American astronomer. He is Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has been named as one of the 50 most important African-Americans in research science. He is the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the...

, Planetarium Director at the Franklin Institute
Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.-History:On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and...

 in Philadelphia, by quoting from the Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies article, saying, "The Astronauts would go to Mars with the intention of staying for the rest of their lives, as trailblazers of a permanent human Mars colony." In response to Olbermann's statement that "the authors claim a one way ticket to Mars is no more outlandish that a one way ticket to America was in 1620." Pitts defends Mars to Stay initiatives by saying, "they begin to open the doors in a way which haven't been opened before."

March 2011 Apollo 14
Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks....

 pilot Edgar Mitchell and Apollo 17
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. Launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, with a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 remains the...

's geologist Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt is an American geologist, a retired NASA astronaut, university professor, and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico....

, among other noted Mars exploration advocates published an anthology of Mars to Stay architectures titled, "A One Way Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet," from publisher's review:

"To boldly go where no human has gone before... A human mission to Mars will most likely be a one way journey into the unknown, and the first step to the human colonization of the cosmos. Over 1,000 men and women have volunteered for a one way mission and many tell us why in their own words. But wouldn't this be a suicide mission? Could a colony be established? Could they grow their own food? How would they survive? The answers are provided by a veritable who's who of the top experts in the world. And what would it be like to live on Mars? What dangers would they face? Learn first hand, in the final, visionary chapter about life in a Martian colony, and the adventures of a young woman, Aurora, who is born on Mars. Exploration, discovery, and journeys into the unknown are part of the human spirit. Colonizing the cosmos is our destiny. The Greatest Adventure in the History of Humanity awaits us. Onward to Mars!


August 2011, Professor Paul Davies gave a plenary address to the opening session of the 14th Annual International Mars Society Convention on cost-effective human mission plans for Mars titled "One-Way Mission to Mars."

New York Times op-eds


"Mars to Stay" has been explicitly proposed by two op-ed
Op-ed
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page , is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board...

 pieces in the New York Times.

"A One-Way Ticket to Mars" Krauss, Lawrence. New York Times Op-Ed, Sept 1, 2009:"

Following a similar line of argument to Buzz Aldrin, Lawrence Krauss asks in an Op-Ed, "Why are we so interested in bringing the Mars astronauts home again?". While the idea of sending astronauts aloft never to return may be jarring upon first hearing, the rationale for one-way exploration and settlement trips has both historical and practical roots. For example, colonists and pilgrims seldom set off to the New World with no expectation of a return trip. As Lawrence Krauss writes, "To boldly go where no one has gone before does not require coming home again."

Dr. Krauss modifies the standard "Mars to Stay" architecture by "restricting the voyage to older astronauts, whose longevity
Longevity
The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected ....

 is limited. Here again, I have found a significant fraction of scientists older than 65 who would be willing to live out their remaining years on the red planet or elsewhere." This initial first generation of elderly astronauts would accept higher radiation doses while building eventual subsurface habitats, presumably, because the effects of increased radiation would not affect them during the remainder of their lives.


"If it sounds unrealistic to suggest that astronauts would be willing to leave home never to return alive, then consider the results of several informal surveys I and several colleagues have conducted recently. One of my peers in Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 recently accompanied a group of scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 on a geological field trip. During the day, he asked how many would be willing to go on a one-way mission into space. Every member of the group raised his hand." Krauss, Lawrence. New York Times Op-Ed "A One-Way Ticket to Mars"


Additional immediate and pragmatic reasons to consider one-way human space exploration missions are explored by Krauss. Since much of the cost of a voyage to Mars will be spent on coming home again, if the fuel for the return is carried onboard, this greatly increases the mission mass requirement - which in turn requires even more fuel. "Human space travel is so expensive and so dangerous" according to Krauss, "we are going to need novel, even extreme solutions if we really want to expand the range of human civilization beyond our own planet." Delivering food and supplies to pioneers via unmanned spacecraft is less expensive than designing an immediate return trip.

"Life (and Death) on Mars," Davies, Paul. New York Times Op-Ed, January 15, 2004:"

In an earlier 2004 Op-Ed for the New York Times, Paul Davies motivation for the less expensive, permanent "one-way to stay option" arises from a theme common in "Mars to Stay" advocacy: "Mars is one of the few accessible places beyond Earth that could have sustained life [...and] alone among our sister planets, it is able to support a permanent human presence."


"Why is going to Mars so expensive? Mainly it's the distance from Earth. At its closest point in orbit, Mars lies 35 million miles away from us, necessitating a journey of many months, whereas reaching the Moon requires just a few days' flight. On top of this, Mars has a surface gravity that, though only 38 percent of Earth's, is much greater than the Moon's. It takes a lot of fuel to blast off Mars and get back home. If the propellant has to be transported there from Earth, costs of a launching soar.

Without some radical improvements in technology, the prospects for sending astronauts on a round-trip to Mars any time soon are slim, whatever the presidential rhetoric. What's more, the president's suggestion of using the Moon as a base — a place to assemble equipment and produce fuel for a Mars mission less expensively — has the potential to turn into a costly sideshow. There is, however, an obvious way to slash the costs and bring Mars within reach of early manned exploration. The answer lies with a one-way mission."


Under Davies' plan an initial colony of four astronauts equipped with a small nuclear reactor and a couple of rover vehicles would make their own oxygen, grow food, and even initiate building projects using local raw materials. Supplemented by food shipments, medical supplies, and replacement gadgets from Earth, the colony would be indefinitely sustained. Davies argues that since, "some people gleefully dice with death in the name of sport or adventure [and since] dangerous occupations that reduce life expectancy through exposure to hazardous conditions or substances are commonplace," we ought to not find the risks involved in a Mars to Stay architecture unusual.

"A century ago, explorers set out to trek across Antarctica in the full knowledge that they could die in the process, and that even if they succeeded their health might be irreversibly harmed. Yet governments and scientific societies were willing sponsors of these enterprises." Asks Davies, "Why should it be different today?"

See also

  • The Case for Mars
    The Case For Mars
    The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must is a nonfiction science book by Robert Zubrin, first published in 1996....

  • Colonization of Mars
    Colonization of Mars
    The colonization of Mars by humans is the focus of speculation and serious study because the surface conditions and availability of water on Mars make it arguably the most hospitable planet in the solar system other than Earth...

  • Human outpost
    Human outpost
    Human outposts are artificially-created, controlled human habitats located in environments inhospitable for humans, such as on the ocean floor, in space or on another planet....

  • In-situ resource utilization
    In-Situ Resource Utilization
    In space exploration, in-situ resource utilization describes the proposed use of resources found or manufactured on other astronomical objects to further the goals of a space mission....

  • List of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century
  • Manned mission to Mars
    Manned mission to Mars
    A manned mission to Mars has been the subject of science fiction, engineering, and scientific proposals throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century...

  • Mars Direct
    Mars Direct
    Mars Direct is a proposal for a manned mission to Mars. Proponents of the scheme have claimed it to be both cost-effective and that it can be conducted with current technology. It was originally detailed in a research paper by NASA engineers Robert Zubrin and David Baker in 1990, and later expanded...

  • Mars landing
    Mars landing
    A Mars landing is a landing of a spacecraft on the surface of Mars. Of multiple attempted Mars landings by robotic, unmanned spacecraft, six were successful. There have also been studies for a possible manned mission to Mars, including a landing, but none have been attempted.-Mars probe program:In...

  • Space architecture
    Space architecture
    Space architecture, in its simplest definition, is the theory and practice of designing and building inhabited environments in outer space. The architectural approach to spacecraft design addresses the total built environment, drawing from diverse disciplines including physiology, psychology, and...

  • Terraforming of Mars
    Terraforming of Mars
    The terraforming of Mars is the hypothetical process by which the climate, surface, and known properties of Mars would be deliberately changed with the goal of making it habitable by humans and other terrestrial life, thus providing the possibility of safe and sustainable colonization of large...


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Further reading