Monday, November 15, 2010

I Always Thought I was FROM Mars

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101115/ap_on_sc/us_one_way_to_mars

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...

Mars is a six-month flight away, possesses surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. They propose the missions start by sending two two-person teams, in separate ships, to Mars. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow...

They think the private sector might be a better place to try their plan.  “What we would need is an eccentric billionaire,” Schulze-Makuch said. “There are people who have the money to put this into reality.”

Psychological profiling and training of the astronauts, plus constant communication with Earth, will reduce debilitating mental strains, the two scientists said.

“They would in fact feel more connected to home than the early Antarctic explorers,” according to the article.

But the mental health of humans who spent time in space has been extensively studied. Depression can set in, people become irritated with each other, and sleep can be disrupted, the studies have found. The knowledge that there is no quick return to Earth would likely make that worse.

Schulze-Makuch and Davies contend that Mars has abundant resources to help the colonists become self-sufficient over time. The colony should be next to a large ice cave, to provide shelter from radiation, plus water and oxygen, they wrote.

They believe the one-way trips could start in two decades.

“You would send a little bit older folks, around 60 or something like that,” Schulze-Makuch said...

Me!  I would go!  No money, hmmm… well, then I need a sponsor  :-)

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