A One-Way, One-Person Mission to Mars

Will humans ever really go to Mars? Let’s face it, the obstacles are quite daunting. Not only are there numerous, difficult, technical issues to overcome, but the political will and perseverance of any one nation to undertake such an arduous task just can’t be counted on. However, one former NASA engineer believes a human mission to Mars is quite doable, and such an event would unify the world as never before. But Jim McLane’s proposal includes a couple of major caveats: the trip to Mars should be one-way, and have a crew of only one person.

McLane worked at NASA for 21 years before leaving in 2007 to work for a private engineering firm. Being able to look from afar at NASA’s activities has given him a new perspective, he says.

But McLane was still at NASA when he originally had an idea for a one-way, one-person mission to Mars. He calls his proposal the “Spirit of the Lone Eagle,” in deference to Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

McLane’s idea came from his acquaintance with a Russian cosmonaut. “I noticed the cosmonaut seemed to be a slightly different type of person than the American astronaut,” McLane said. “Cosmonauts are primarily pilots, and like test pilots, they are very focused on getting the job done. The current American astronauts are picked for things such as their speaking ability and social skills, and most of them have advanced degrees. But the cosmonaut struck me as an adventurous, get-things-done-type person, like our original astronauts back in the 1960’s.”

A return to the “get it done” attitude of the 1960’s and a goal of a manned landing within a short time frame, like Apollo, is the only way we’ll get to Mars, McLane believes. Additionally, a no-return, solo mission solves many of the problems currently facing a round-trip, multiple person crew.

“When we eliminate the need to launch off Mars, we remove the mission’s most daunting obstacle,” said McLane. And because of a small crew size, the spacecraft could be smaller and the need for consumables and supplies would be decreased, making the mission cheaper and less complicated.

While some might classify this as a suicide mission, McLane feels the concept is completely logical.

“There would be tremendous risk, yes,” said McLane, “but I don’t think that’s guaranteed any more than you would say climbing a mountain alone is a suicide mission. People do dangerous things all the time, and this would be something really unique, to go to Mars. I don’t think there would be any shortage of people willing to volunteer for the mission. Lindbergh was someone who was willing to risk everything because it was worth it. I don’t think it will be hard to find another Lindbergh to go to Mars. That will be the easiest part of this whole program.”

And like Apollo, such a mission would stimulate new technology and reinvigorate science. McLane feels a mission to Mars should be international in scope, encompassing contributions from multiple nations to represent a milestone for the whole human race.

Mars mission.  Image Credit:  NASA

“I think people have forgotten how exciting the Apollo program was, and this would bring that excitement back,” he said. “And it wasn’t just here in the US; the whole world was excited. This enthusiasm would be the greatest effect of a program that places a man on Mars, over and above anything else, whether it makes jobs, or stimulates the economy, or creates technology spinoffs. We’re all humans and the idea of sending one of our kind on a trip like that would be a wonderful adventure for the entire world. The whole world would get behind it.”

And the whole world would be watching, said McLane, so it wouldn’t be as if the lone astronaut would be completely by himself. “You would have constant communication,” he said. “The astronauts on the International Space Station have an army of people on earth keeping track of what they are doing. They really have no peace. Somebody is constantly planning and monitoring their activities. I don’t think being lonely will be much of a problem on a mission to Mars.”

Of course McLane’s hope is the solo astronaut would be joined by others shortly in the future. Orbital mechanics provides a desirable launch window from Earth to Mars every 26 months. “This person wouldn’t be there by himself for very long. It’s just returning home that would be impossible,” he said. Another option McLane has offered is a one-man and one-woman crew, possibly creating an Adam and Eve-type situation.

Unmanned landers would carry living accommodations, supplies and communication equipment to Mars’ surface before the human mission would even launch. The best location on Mars would be a low, sheltered area, perhaps at the bottom of a canyon, which would provide protection from radiation and weather, as well as the highest possible atmospheric pressure.

While technical issues abound for even the simplest human mission to Mars, McLane says technical issues didn’t deter the Apollo program, and they shouldn’t deter a mission to another planet.

“I can remember during the early days of the Apollo program, there were even many more technical issues than we face today in going to Mars,” said McLane. “People don’t realize that, or have forgotten that fact. Several things were tremendous unknowns back then, any one of which could have been a showstopper for a human moon landing.”

McLane said the early designers of the Apollo spacecraft gambled that in 3 or 4 years, high powered transistors and small guidance computers would be developed. That was the only way the spacecraft would be lightweight enough to land on the moon. “It was almost science fiction, but someone thought it could be done in just a few years, and sure enough the technology was perfected in time to make the mission possible,” he said.

James C. McLane.  Image Credit:  courtesy James McLane
Image: Jim McLane during his career at NASA.

While Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and noted author and physicist Paul Davies have also advocated a one-way trip to Mars, in our risk-averse society most people look askance at such an idea.

Even though explorers in the past traveled, for example, to the south or north pole, knowing they might never return, and thousands of immigrants moved to the US in the 18- and 1900’s, knowing they would never see their homeland again, the human psyche has seemingly changed enough that a one-way ticket off the planet is not acceptable. According to psychologist Molly Dooley from Springfield, IL, it might take a major crisis on Earth for humans to seriously consider such a mission. “Usually it’s the disenfranchised that are willing to take those kinds of risks,” she said. “When our present situation no longer works for us, we become more willing to take risks. The difference between the folks who are interested and those who aren’t is their attachment to their current situation.”

McLane says the main reason NASA hasn’t been able to focus on a human mission to Mars is simple: NASA doesn’t get nearly enough money. “This has been the case for many years,” he said. “They didn’t get enough money to fix problems with the shuttle, and they’ve always been chronically short of money. How we fund NASA is a big handicap, since every year, NASA has to go begging to Congress for funds and justify their budget. The Chinese space program, on the other hand, has an advantage in that they budget their projects in five-year increments. If we really want to go somewhere, we’ll have to change how NASA gets its money.”

But McLane thinks NASA is at fault for not even considering a one-way mission to Mars. “For over forty years they’ve studied all sorts of options, but haven’t admitted to ever looking at a one-way mission to Mars,” he said. “We shouldn’t be stuck on this rock forever. I believe it’s in our human nature to try to go somewhere else, and we’ve almost worn this world out. I think now is the time to reach out and go somewhere else to start with a clean slate. There is no reason not to try.”

355 Replies to “A One-Way, One-Person Mission to Mars”

  1. ha ha

    to mars, when we can’t even get to the moon.
    lets stop these bogus ways to spend tax payers money.

  2. “adam and eve”

    yes sure, and then, if they have lets say a daughter, the father makes a new baby with her? or passes her on to the next astronaut going: “here man, lets start this freaking planet, have my daughter” infront of the whole human race..
    makes me laugh

    but the idea in general i do like

  3. I like the idea.

    Perhaps it could be expanded to add an additional person or two every 26 months, along with more consumables and material to construct a greenhouse for growing food and producing Oxygen, and for other purposes, perhaps a low-power nuclear reactor or thermal battery could be added.

    That way, an outpost for humanity could be established over a period of decades.

    Something like that would indeed capture the imagination of mankind…and our children.

    Although I am not qualified to go, I’d love to go!!!

  4. I don’t see the problem with sending a rocket in 52 months (that’s over 4 years!) that would get them back into orbit. (Remember Mars’ lower gravity) Then a simple supply ship orbital transfer, and back to earth orbit. Can you imagine their welcome home? A one way trip is too depressing unless you really do intend on populating a real colony. Either way, what solid stuff they’d be made of to make that jump! You’d have to be assured of quite the camping gear when you got there. No Coleman stove for them!

  5. Why would a “one-way” trip now have to mean “forever” for the initial explorer(s)? We can assume that many of the problems currently associated with a round trip will be solved in the relatively near future. So in five or ten years, crews could be rotated every several years if necessary, including the first ones.

    I think it’s a very exciting strategy to get people there in the next five years.

  6. Five years!!! Wow, optimistic! Even if there was a trip on the books!
    Shouldn’t that pic at the top have had its sky altered to orange? No blue skies on Mars!

    Any volunteers? For the trip, I mean.

  7. The previous posters are right. Send following one-way missions and build a colony. What a terrific idea!

    I think it would capture the imagination of the entire Earth. We might make some progress towards a real and responsible world government.

  8. Dear Earthlings,

    Please remember to send an ‘attractive lady’ next time around, like in the attached photo. This plug-plug compatibility thing is just not working and Ted does not like the same films as me.



  9. I liked the idea up until the last paragraph. We haven’t “worn out” this planet. Nor would we be able to start with a “clean slate.” People being what they are, we’d take all of our baggage with us….and in a much, much more harsh environment, humans would have far less margin for error.

    That remark suggests to me that McLane doesn’t actually have a very realistic idea of everything that our home planet provides for “free.” The ecology that supports us is extremely complex and can’t be reproduced with a few high-tech camping supplies. We would have to commit to not only sending the explorer there, but supporting him or her at great expense for the rest of his/her life. That, or providing supplies to make self-sufficiency possible, an additional problem that I don’t see any planning for. More people means the problem gets bigger. Colonizing Mars needs to be a COMPLETE plan with a realistic assessment of what it would take. Otherwise it would just be a disaster and we would be sending people to their deaths.

  10. Sounds like a great idea, except the whole “no return” thing.

    As a space enthusiasts, I would not want my tax dollars spent on “one way missions.”

    Remember, Mars is a lot harsher than Earth climate wise, and a death there would create enough controversy to kill the whole program in the future until the Chinese build an outpost there.

    While two people are better, I think building colonies with groups of people (not to mention a way to exit Mars if things go wrong) would find more support world wide.

  11. this guy is an idiot. If we have no hope of bringing someone back dont go. i would not send my dog.

  12. I like the idea… hate the analogies. Its nothing like immigrants coming to America knowing they’ll never see their homeland… its more like diving to the Mariana Trench completely dependent on supplies from the surface and a harsh LETHAL environment just outside. But yeah, assuming it may still be possible to return and you can trust supplies to make it safely (the track record for sending things to Mars isn’t to reassuring) and assuming there is protection from Martian dust storms and radiation, then yeah, this sounds like an excellent idea.

  13. A one-way, one-man mission to Mars is a bit pessimistic considering technology is ever-evolving. If a one-cosmonaut mindset is likely to get the job done, then surely, a two, three, or four of a like mindset would be even better.

    Speaking of mindsets, if we keep up with this “NASA” mindset, we may just be limiting our selves from being open to uniquely radical approaches of venturing out to other places beyond Earth, in shorter periods of time, and, while having a roundtrip factored in.

    There very well could be countless solutions to problems of this nature if we would just reach out more often to draw input from other sources.

    The mindsets of cosmonauts aren’t restricted to one group, you just have to seek them out. 🙂

  14. I think it would be great to have a colony on mars. It could be an international project like the ISS that could be completed in segments over years. With different nations contributing different things.

  15. I accept the risk. I’ll volunteer to go.

    I want 3 years supplies with power (a nuke) and equipment (stuff to get me kick started) to have a reasonable chance to stay warm, make my own air and grow my own food on Mars. And my shelter has to be mobile so I can spend the rest of my life exploring.

  16. A one way ticket to Mars may be logical, but what would be the point? At some time, you need to bring the guy home, so wating a few months and sending a second ship (with return capabilities) would be more expensive than just sending a round-trip ship to begin with.

  17. There is no way that NASA will ever launch towards Mars or the Moon anytime soon. A joint mission would be more realistic but I don’t think we have what it takes to make the trip at least for 30 years.
    That’s why ISS is a very important test ground for various technologies to use for later missions.

  18. i can easily see the astronaut getting bored, then depressed, then insane, you know, cuz he’s there alone for a while. constant communication? i don’t know how long the delay is to send data to mars and back, but it can’t be like talking on the phone. i guess he can keep himself bust, but once the guy’s done all the initial setup, what’s he going to do all day? collect samples? take pictures? play solitaire? maybe he should get a vehicle too, so at least he can move around. hehe, it’s gotta be some real tough hardass who goes to mars.

  19. Greetings from Portugal

    I think we all should welcome any ideia on this and other subjects, no matter what each one of us thinks about it. I like this ideia, do not think Jim is an idiot and would volunteer to go in a heart beat.

  20. anyway im bored of this pale blue dot …
    what do u think ? 60 kg 18 years old , russian nationality
    im perfect for this mission 🙂

  21. This is not exactly a new idea. During the cold war race to the moon a one-way mission was considered to get to the moon first, mostly because of the possible technical limitations mentioned in the post. (I think it was mentioned on NOVA, but I’m not entirely certain…) Sure, they probably would have tried to retrieve the astronaut at a later date if possible, but chances were high that it could have been a terminal one-way mission.

  22. Sadly, I like this bitter sweet idea as well. We would learn so much

    I would like it better if it were entirely hopeless.

    A one time, one person mission with a finite amount of supplies, and a final solution for the ending.

    Great sci-fi read.

    We have seen in recent times many of us who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for beliefs.

    In reality the individual is not as important as the group.

    We would find many volunteers.

    The sacrifice would in no way be meaningless. The moment of launch would be heart wrenching. Incredible.


  23. One-way trip? Bold, very much in the spirit of ‘grand adventure’ but not really comparable to anything we’ve done before. I like the idea, but would like to see some consideration of in-situ resource utilization for a return vehicle — no need, perhaps to send it right away, but at least send the astronaut with enough equipment to determine the best way to go about that so we can build a suitable return vehicle to send at a later date…even if we went with the incremental colonization idea, some chance of return (not to mention the tech benefits from ISRU) seems almost necessary, at least highly desirable.

  24. It’s “do or die”, not “do and die”. Society does not send people on suicide missions unless other lives are on the line. Those who go on suicide missions for glory win only Darwin awards.

  25. So long as I’m allowed to bring my PlayStation, golf clubs, and a bottle of Scotch I’d be set!

    I think the biggest issue with this plan will be the loneliness, this astronaut would need to be one special individual. A huge amount of time would need to be spent researching the psychological impact of such a mission…

    It’s a great thought though…

  26. The guy or girl would go completely insane. The book Red Mars of the Mars trilogy does a pretty reasonable job of analysing the probable psychology and psychotic reactions that many would suffer in such a situation. The fact that there would be only one or two people there would only exacerbate the effects to my mind.

  27. It COULD happen, but not with US tax dollars. Americans tend to think more of kamikaze, or terrorism than fearless exploration when they hear ‘one-way mission’. Wouldn’t that be state-sanctioned assisted suicide?
    Plus, the idea of sending out more to meet the ‘lone eagle’ is self-defeating. If that were affordable, why not build a few mega-ships that could go round-trip? What’s the hurry, anyway.
    BUT, somewhere offshore, with billions of dollars, it COULD happen…
    The flight would break all previous manned speed records and would still take years. Some type of induced coma would benefit the solo pilot… Perhaps one day we will see cybernetic advances like direct links to the astronauts’ retinas and vocal chords… digestive systems replaced by devices that administer liquid nutrients and recycle water…
    Since the astronaut has nothing to lose, why not go all the way and send a ROBOCOP? You’d get twice as many applicants!
    Can science alter a human to withstand extreme environments, live without standard food, never get lonely?
    I think we’ll be sending robots for a while. Maybe someday robots with a tangle of neurons, but robots just the same.

  28. I think 1 way trips to mars with two person
    crews consisting of one man, and one woman who intend to live on mars on a long term basis is good idea .

  29. You all should check out Bob Zubrin’s Mars Direct plan (detailed in the book “The Case for Mars”) which is totally do-able without the need for a modern-day Robinson Crusoe. Zubrin is the founder of The Mars Society and NASA eventually (reluctantly) adopted many elements of the Mars Direct approach for its own plans (after the $450 Billion fiasco proposed in the eighties).

  30. In fact, upon closer examination, I’m pretty sure the reason the sky is blue in the accompanying photo is just that – it’s a photo of a Mars Society volunteer at the Mars Desert Research Station – not an artistic rendering!

  31. Actually, upon even closer examination, I think the photo may actually be from the Mars Arctic Research Station (M.A.R.S. – get it?) on Devon Island in Canada. Either way, The Mars Society has been doing this on a strictly donor/volunteer basis for about a decade now and has been invaluable in advancing the know-how needed for humanity to make the jump to being a multi-planet species.

    As Dr. Zubrin once told me, “Let’s Make This Happen!”.

  32. A one-way trip to Mars is a very, very long-duration (~ 180 days) mission. Hundreds of behavioural studies on Earth (conducted in environments such as remote Antarctic stations, submarines) and in space (conducted on Mir and currently on the ISS) show that individuals (working alone or together) just won’t hack it — take a look at these quotes:-
    “All one needs to effect a murder is to lock two men together in a cabin for upto two months.”; Interpersonal distrust, dislike, misunderstanding and poor communication have led to potentially danderous situation.”; “I miss my family, news from home, and hearing English been spoken.”
    The studies also show several issues have yet to be determined for a successful mission to Mars — leadership, crew compatibility, gender, age, heterogeneity (male/female astronauts working together)…etc., are just a few.

    Leadership: A leader must be capable of performing task and socioemotional leadership roles; capable of focussing on the interaction of structural and personality variables, rather than upon either variable alone; and have a full understanding of his crew – emotionally, socially and physically.

    Crew compatibility: Crewmembers must be capable of engaging in a wide variety of social behaviours; have shared attitudes and values to enforce group compatibility and ‘like-mindedness’. If one crewmember, for example, is skilled in an area in which the other person is unskilled, or has knowledge that the other must learn from or rely upon, then this is a crew whose consequences can only promote solidarity and high morale.

    Age: Astronauts will not have to be selected from a narrow range of ages. For example, while a younger aged person would have peak energy and physical fitness to their advantage, an older person would have experience and perspective, and his maturity could also act as a parent-surrogate who satisfies important needs of the younger crewmember.

    Gender: Most studies done today involve males only and extremely little is known about the values of having a mixed crew on such long journeys. Some instances where a crew consisted of a single woman with several men onboard reported gender stereotyping (men taking unnecessary risks to impress women or women faking helplessness in the presence of men). Other instances showed greater difficulties with females trying to exert a leadership role, and in one case a female crewmember had to act as peacemaker in a leadership conflict between two male co-members.

    Heterogeneity: Spacecrews in the future will likely be composed of heterogeneous groups – people from different countries, with different cultural traditions and values, with different career backgrounds. A heterogeneous crew offers potential advantages over a homogenous one, as their combined diversity presents more alternative perspectives and greater richness in skills and experience – offering a greater effectiveness of problem-solving and decision-making amongst the group.

    And that’s all before we even get to solve the technical issues of actually landing on the martian surface.

    This one-way mission sounds good on paper, but, realistically, the person(s) would have to be very special indeed.

    John — http://www.moonposter.ie
    Moon News: http://www.moonposter.ie/news.htm

  33. Gate Keepers — that’s what stops it.

    That the idea resonates well with Jo Publius, but doesn’t happen because of ‘society’s values’ indicates a schism between the popular imagination and whomever self-appointed guardian of our ‘values’ it is that it is who is trying to guide public opinion in this (and other such) matters. I personally would go if either i were terminal (e.g. with incurable cancer) or i had a reasonable assurance that my support would follow through.

    Also, it was not an absolute given that the New World settlers could never return. Technically this was not the case. It was within the realm of possibility (as it would be for our lone vanguard). But, the earliest European settlers in America were committed to the idea that they might never return.

    There is a nice correlativity between the first Martian ‘settlers’ and, say, the New World settlers of Shakespeare’s time (as i analogise McLane’s vision).

    ~Neila Joan

    P.S: any tacit agreement (which may [or may not] have existed) betwixt the people who already lived in ‘America’ and the Europeans is another topic entirely.

  34. What if the lone astronaut has an accident and becomes seriously injured. What if they develop appendicitis and need emergency surgery? What if some catastrophic mechanical failure to equipment occurs? What of the unexpected hazards? I would be in favor of sending a lone astronaut or small crew so long as some means of returning to Earth had been pre-launched and ready for assembly on Mars when that person(s) got there.

  35. I remember reading something very similar in a short story by Stephen Baxter.

    Honi soit….

    IMO they should scratch the Mars programme.

    Send more bots, and start exploring Europa and Titan!

  36. love the idea,

    I will even volunteer,
    I can’t think of a higher cause… then the attempt to establish a foot hold on another planet.

    Sam H

  37. The massive response alone agrees with now being a good time to pursue a lone wolf shot at Mars. Picking the candidate will be pure hell.

    A suicide run ain’t gonna cut it. We will be obligated to resupply Alpha until his demise, Or, certainly try.

  38. Its no different then any other explorer at any onther time in history. There is a risk involved to the human drive for expansion/exploration/finding the unkown. But its driven us to where we are today. I see no unacceptable reason to not do this. Send a few to start, and with every other shipment sent more ppl and supples.

  39. It seems to me that if we have the technology to keep someone alive on another planet for an extended period of time, than we would have enough technology to return that explorer home. So doesn’t this make the one way argument meaningless?

  40. @ George,
    To qoute Tennyson: “Theirs is not to wonder why,/ Theirs is but to do and die,”
    Which, while not an analogous situation, does show that folks have been glad to have been sent to their deaths for much less reason than exploration.
    To quote Tennyson again, in a much better example of the explorer in question: “‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world./ Push off, and sitting well in order smite/ The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds/ To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths/ Of all the western stars, until I die.”
    And also from the poem “Ulysses”, the final line
    “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

    Perhaps a bit of an agressive finish, but the sentiment is noble. There are certainly qualified people who would undertake such a quest, knowing that the most likely, if not only, close is a death far from home. I think the largest gulf is getting over the idea that a person in such a situation must be afforded the power to take their own life by merciful means if such a need should arise.

  41. A great idea , especially with the possibility of ‘top-ups’ every 26 months. Technology is likely to advance quickly as it did with the Apollo program, so a return from Mars maybe possible some time in the future, just not at the present.

  42. I’ve long thought that this was the job for me. It’s too bad the opportunity is so long in coming, at least for me, since you’d probably want someone younger.
    However, I suppose it would depend on the amnaities one could bring along. Could anyone grow tired of the view ? I doubt I would, and I’m certain there would be more to do on such a mission than to admire the starscape.
    I have not read the related article yet, and perhaps it will discourage me, and I a may not be in suffcient healtth for such a venture, although I am fairly healthy.
    I had to respond, I would not forgive myself for not having at least tried !
    Good luck and keep me posted !

  43. I’ve long thought that this was the job for me. It’s too bad the opportunity is so long in coming, at least for me, since you’d probably want someone younger.
    However, I suppose it would depend on the amenities one could bring along. Could anyone grow tired of the view ? I doubt I would, and I’m certain there would be more to do on such a mission than to admire the starscape.
    I have not read the related article yet, and perhaps it will discourage me, and I a may not be in sufficient health for such a venture, although I am fairly healthy.
    I had to respond, I would not forgive myself for not having at least tried !
    Good luck and keep me posted !

    I have not read the related article yet, and perhaps it will discourage me, and I a may not be in suffcient healtth for such a venture, although I am fairly healthy.
    I had to respond, I would not forgive myself for not having at least tried !
    Good luck and keep me posted !

  44. I’m not certain if this is just my system, but the “Submit” button keeps returning to the same page.
    You may have two copies of my reponse ?
    Good luck in this venture !
    Charles Lee

  45. Sounds great pick me, I need to get away from the wife and kids for a while. But seriously why is that we as a people labour over the concept of risky exploration, if we dont stop wringing our hands and vasilating now will we summon the courage to try. I seem to remember a quote (paraphrased) by a visionary, “that only those that dare to fail greatly ever achieve greatly”.

  46. Has anybody read the Mars Trilogy, from Kim Stanley Robinson? It’s all there, you know. Complete plan for colonization, no other way around it.

  47. And what if they changed their minds and wanted to return?

    What a soap opera: TV stations pay loads to air their dying entreaties.

    This is not the way to start the history of planetary colonisation.

  48. It should be at least 2 humans preferrably a man and women, we need to get rid of this timid sprirt we’ve have going and get back to being adventorous,like in the 60’s, Nasa has done and invented many grat things we use in our dailey lives,we need to get back to that before its to late.

  49. Give me the latest gaming system and a renewable power source, and I’ll gladly fly away to Mars and spend the rest of my life playing Halo. Wait… No multiplayer? Okay, Metal Gear Solid then.

  50. I don’t like the thought of a one way one person flight.
    I do see that NASA has a major funding problem, which can be fixed.
    I also believe that shortsightedness was built into the american political system to prevent centralisation of power in the hands of a few powerful people or groups.
    This results in wasteful lobbying when the money could be better used.

  51. I wonder if I can put my kids up for the mission? Then finally there would be peace on Earth!!!

  52. If pepole are willing to do this in full knowledge of the risks, then by all means, there’s no reason, apart from budgetary, that they should be allowed to go.
    There are practical & psychological implications, of course, but that is why test pilots/military personnel or those with a military background, would be far more suited to this sort of mission.these were exactly the same considerations during the Apollo missions & to an extent, the early Shuttle missions. All exploration involves risks, not least that you may die even before leaving the ground. (remember, we’re essentially asking people to go into space sitting in, essentiall, giant firecrackers).

  53. What about a one-way trip first, followed by a similar mission to Apollo – quick decend and return?

    We could send an ‘explorer’ go into the Mar ‘wilderness’ to perform science and collect rock samples, i.e. study things. Shortly after, you could mission with return trip capacity to return the person and those rock samples.

    Simpliy the mission – one man (or woman) goes first (decent only capacity), then an unmanned mission follows, which deliveres a lander with return capacity to ‘collect’ the person and samples. If the person were to sucome to some illness etc, don’t send the return mission.

    One only needs to consider the extreme technical issues supporting science missions in Antartica. A few years ago, a female scientist developed breast caner and had to perform her own medical tests and procedures because she could not get outside assistance.

    Just think what would occur if the sole crew memeber developed Cancer or similar?

  54. Great Idea!! By the way what’s the need of 1-way-mission?? If NASA has limited funds, it can always explore the world for it. As such the whole world has gone mad after new Lunar missions. US (once again), China and India are in the race. China & India are planning separate missions to Mars. What’s the need? Why cant all get together and explore 2-ways mission to Mars?

  55. China will be there first. The first the west will know about it will be the announcement after the launch.

    Just imagine a factory on mars run by the Chinese. They could employ lots of cheap labour to build the equipment needed to build a proper setlement for NASA and ESA.

  56. A one-way trip might save some money, but it would still be a colossal waste of funds. The required budget would be comparable to the total public expenditures for all research. Since when does planetary geology deserve as much funding as all of biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, etc? What would we learn from studying Mars in detail? Not much that we don’t already know, and certainly nothing about fundamental scientific questions. What new technologies would be developed? None that we really need here on earth. As for the “exploration” aspect, let’s not kid ourselves. The public would very quickly lose interest in the adventures of a bunch of people endlessly diddling around in a landscape that look a lot like the American Southwest, but not as attractive. Don’t forget that we already have detailed information about a large fraction of the surface of Mars, so there is no analogy to discovering a new continent on Earth. Don’t forget also that Mars would be a dead end: there is nowhere to go in the Solar System after that.

    As for the idea of “terraforming” Mars – surely it’s one of the loopiest ever conceived. If there is one thing that we have learned from the study of the Earth’s complexities, it’s that you don’t ever try to make transformations on a planet-wide scale – you will fail miserably.

    I’m assuming of course, that there is no life on Mars. If there is (that is, if the robotic missions find it) – then by all means let’s go study it.

  57. What!? – Do we really need another Zubrin?
    This guy is simply wacko!

    I completely agree with the psychologist – We do need some serious motivation to leave this planet in an attempt to preserve the human race. But without further advances in technology, any attempt we make now, would be a futile one (a last desperate attempt). – Unfortunately, we’re still in the technological stone-age.

    Any one-way mission to Mars really would be a “suicide� mission despite the final paragraphs alluding to a minute hope of survival and companionship by “air drops� (there would be none!). Furthermore, if humanity really did find a person willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of historical prosperity; could we really hold out much hope that the potentially depressed or insane individual would be able to complete any useful mission objectives in the face of his inevitable demise?

    Maybe we could live on Marshrooms!? 😉

  58. A trip to Mars? It looks like a waste of tax money. A Mars trip, assuming it succeeds, would most likely benefit a small scientific group’s curiosity. It is doubtful any real benefit beyond a few simple devices would befall the working man. Yes, I concede there will be sensors and other marginally useful gadgets developed that could be argued a benefit. I suspect a far more economical and practical way of exploring Mars would be future generation robots. Why? Because robots are not as fragile as humans for an extended space trip. Robots can handle radiation and biolife support system failures much much better than humans can. A robot delivery vehicle would be so much simpler to develop than build a reliable “piece of earth environment” space ship for a one or two-way trip. Also trying to survive in a hostile environment like Mars most likely will result in a disasterious failure. There are just to many unknowns. I suspect a Mars project will only produce a hand full of paychecks and a huge amount of pork-barrel profit for a few at the expense of many.

  59. The comparisons to earlier explorations are not really valid. While climbing Mt. Everest and traveling to the poles was occasionally a one-way expedition (due to illness/accident/poor planning), they were never planned to be one-way. Cross-continental trips and immigration do not really count as one-way – the ability to return existed (turn the wagon/ship around), they just usually did not want to. Early settlers may have gone into the untracked wilderness, but they were not moving to a hostile environment (hostile natives, perhaps). Nobody moves to the North Pole with no plans of returning (once the research is done).

    A solo trip also it not very wise. As has been pointed out a few times above – too many accidents, medical issues and other unforeseen circumstances can be fatal solo.

  60. This is an incredible idea! We should definatley think about it! When I’m 35 and this has been going so long you just hop on a shuttle and go, I’m bringing my WHOLE family!


  61. Where are the adventurous individuals? Those willing to take the chance. Most everyone sits on on their fat rears and never
    dare anything. Is this normal or desireable?
    If man does not move forward, he will slide
    back, devolve. I never finished my master’s in physics but I have kept pursuing knowledge including the possibliities of one way travel to Mars. Modern electronic and fifty
    year olf technology and a lot of hard work could do it. Look at the tech of the Russian
    R-6 booster and the history of its developement. There is no escuse for not being there now.

  62. I have *always* thought the only real sense of a mars mission meant one-way. One-way means you start building an outpost. You don’t go, visit and come back only to never go again due to a change in the political landscape. If there is a person, or people there, then there will continue to be an impetus to go. You can’t abandon your brave explorers!

    Imagine the reality TV that would create! Imagine how much we will learn about Mars by having a person that lives there? Sure, every 26 months a new package arrives, with a new person, or couple, and slowly overtime we *will* have martians…. and (to quote Bradbury) they will be us.

  63. I agree with Mr. Owen and Derek, forget Mars when we can’t even do the Moon.

    ‘Pilgrem Project’ a novel by Frank Searle was turned in to a film with James Caan yonks ago. It was based on a real ‘one-way-trip’ to beat those pesky commies to the Moon. Its nothing new and won’t happen. Imagine the TV ratings if/when his food/air ran out, the TV syndicates would pay millions to watch/hear his slowly die and you sickos would watch + what would happen if he had a major accident, broken leg/arm, appendix? Come on get real and stop talking bollox. The idea is sick and has nothing to do with REAL space exploration.

    0/10 Try Harder…

  64. hey I think an adventure to Mars is something that will happen, given the right length of time, but it is going to cost alot and that money doesn’t just come from thin air. It is tax payer money and we already have a trillion dollar war, isn’t that enough. This guy needs to get his head out of the clouds, if he wants to go let him spend his own money and leave mine alone!!

  65. The astronaut ought to be disabled individual who is comfortable with a catheter, colostomy bag, confined to a wheel chair but capable of operating joy sticks and buttons. He or she would be more comfortable in weightless space and far more capable of dealing with the deprivations of long duration space travel. Build them a chair that they can wear and forget about this “he man” astronaut stuff. They are unlikely to cut it with all the extended discomforts of the transit.

  66. This has to be a joke. Why would you want to go to Mars knowing that you would never retun. Yes this is a suicidal mission. At least climbing a mountain by yourself people know when to expect you back and if you’re back by that time they’ll go looking for you. What happens if there’s something wrong with the shuttle? Why couldn’t you send at least 1 more person to go? Just because you can communicate with someone millions of miles away from you doesn’t mean your not alone because yes you are. Lets put you on an island for youself with nothing but food to eat and you can talk all you want to whoever adn don’t tell me you won’t feel alone. You would probably start to go crazy or depressed and the mission would be a downfall.

  67. One way missions to Mars are inhuman, the moral issues surrounding ‘Laika’ until today are a black mark on the ethical standards of the USSR‘s scientific community. It was not until 1998, after the collapse of the Soviet regime, that Oleg Gazenko, one of the scientists responsible for sending Laika into space, expressed regret for allowing her to die: “The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it… We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.” If a deliberate death of a street stray dog cannot be accepted as a collateral payoff for scientific research, how a human being can be left to die with no chance of retrieval? Sputnik 2 was not designed to be retrievable, so Laika had always been intended to die.

    Laika (from Russian: Лайка, a breed of dog, literally: “Barker” or “Howler”, c. 1954 – 1957) was a Russian space dog which became the first recorded living creature from Earth to enter orbit. At one time a stray wandering the streets of Moscow, she was selected from an animal shelter. Originally named Kudryavka (Russian: кудрÑ?вка, literally: “Little Curly-Haired One”), she was renamed Laika. . She was a mongrel female, approximately three years old, and weighed about 6 kg. Sputnik 2 was not designed to be retrievable, so Laika had always been intended to die. After the success of Sputnik 1, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, wanted a second spacecraft launched on November 7, the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. A more sophisticated satellite was already under construction, but it would not be ready until December; this satellite would later become Sputnik 3.

    After undergoing training with two other dogs, she was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 and was launched into space on November 3, 1957.

    Laika died a few hours after launch from stress and overheating, probably due to a malfunction in the thermal control system. The true cause of her death was not made public until decades after the flight.

    The ethical problems of this experiment went largely unaddressed for some time. As newspaper clippings from 1957 show, the press was more preoccupied with reporting the political perspective, while the health and retrieval (or lack thereof) of Laika was hardly mentioned. Only later were there discussions regarding the fate of the dog.

    The mission sparked a debate across the globe on the mistreatment of animals and animal testing in general to advance science.

  68. Anyone who think it’s a good idea, do a search on the internet for “yogic flying.” Those are real photos. How is this possible? Simple…develop the state of enlightenment, the highest state of consciousness, the seventh state. Look at http://www.tm.org, http://www.mum.edu.

  69. Imagine if the US put the amount it spent so far on the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq towards a manned mission to Mars…

  70. A colossal cleanup of our good old dear planet is a lot cheaper than a galactic search for habitation. And there is no quarantee that the new hospitable place is not prone to abuse, remember we all are humans, the scorn of the planet earth. For once let us assume we are all alone (logical but foolhardy) in this universe and preserve what is truly ours, our planet.

  71. Some of the views expressed about this topic are truly unbelievable. It’s scary to think they get to cast one vote in the next election just like me.

  72. You guys know that NASA is currently working on going back to the Moon by 2030 and Mars by 2050 right? I’ve worked there for a few summers (and others in my family work there), and almost all of my projects and research dealt with the new Exploration plan. They’ve already decided to build Orion, retire the shuttle, and are currently designing new EVA suits, vehicles, etc. Just FYI, it’s going to happen in our lifetimes, so get excited.

  73. And btw, John, people already live on the ISS for around six months, so the bit about committing murder after two is just plain ignorant, like many of the other comments. They’re not dumb or even illogical, just ignorant.

  74. The perfect candidate would be a man in his 20’s that just broke up with his girlfriend….he wants off the planet and never wants to run into her again!!!!

  75. Mars is a place with no air to breathe, no water to drink and no food to eat. Its atmosphere is too thin to offer protection against cosmic and solar radiation. It is an awfully cold place, but you can´t start a fire to warm you up, as there is nothing to burn and no oxygen in the air. The soil is rich in agressive peroxides and salts. And there is no water to take a shower to wash that biting dust from the skin. No washing machine, no water supply, no toilet, no shop to buy things in case of need, and nobody available to help in time if help is needed.

    The people of the past who went out on journeys and expeditions had a good chance to survive: Wherever they went, they could expect to find air to breathe, some water available, a food supply of some kind, a place to sleep in peace and safety, and a chance to meet someone beautyful. And something worthwhile to tell from when returning.

    If you send people one-way to Mars, you evidently do so to save the money it costs you to bring them back. By doing so you tell that person that you think him or her dispensable.
    Who goes out to Mars will find him or herself in a very harsh, stressing and hopeless situation for the rest of his or her life.

    We are not designed to spend the time of our life within a spacesuit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year, and year by year. Especially not if there is no spacesuit repair service at hand. And of course no spacesuit shop for kids of any size. And no spaceproof diapers.

    You can´t breathe martian air. It is far too thin, and it contains no oxygen. You can´t grow plants on Mars to produce oxygen. There is no rainfall, as liquid water boils at 0°C, due to the low atmospheric pressure.
    If you take out your spacesuit on Mars, you blood starts to boil. A tiny hole in the suit will have the same effect on you. This is not the type of place that can make you feel yourself at home.

    Although Mars has nice places on the first look, Mars is not a place for our kind.



  76. Who says a Mars trip has to be a suicide mission?

    You send a person in a one way rocket.

    You send another one way rocket with supplies and 1/2th of the equipment needed to construct a return vehicle.

    You could keep sending one way rockets until Mars has enough personnel and equipment to build their own return vehicle and come back.

    Eventually you end up with a colony on Mars, continually moving people and equipment via cheap one-way vehicles.

    And nobody has to die.

  77. <>

    Absolutely she could not say no but many humans want to die but the society norms until today does not allow euthanasia.

    The underlying ‘Hippocratic code’ for medical and scientific advancement demands that we make sure as a society that we don’t make deliberate decisions to send anyone with a one way ticket to certain death, we should have odds to bring them back in our favour.

    The very reason we had an ethical debate on Laika was the hallmark of our achievements as human beings. The respect and importance of life of an individual who may be willing for such a one way journey is a call that society at large has to make, of course for self glory thousands may agree to take that hypothetical journey but we as society should not allow.

    A deliberate attempt to ‘destroy human life’ even with full eagerness of the party concerned is what the most medieval minds are playing on today, this is what is known in the world of puritanical ideology as suicide missions, we should condemn any effort to destroy human life deliberately, that right is the most sacrosanct right we as humanity should and have taken pride in..

    Martian mission have always encourage lot of fiction, we grew up expecting aliens from Mars, that dead piece of real estate is not much of an interest against the backdrop of challenges which humanity faces on this earth. The man on one way ticket to Mars shall not be our Columbus or Vasco de Gama. The final frontier is mankind itself, as a part of most complex creation so far known within the entire universe every characteristic and facet of our constructive evolution has to be safeguarded.

  78. I’d go, especially if it were a one man operation. It’s been my dream since I first looked up at the stars (cliche, I know), to set foot on another planet. I’d love the solitude, the small scale gardening to start changing the atmosphere, the knowledge that everything I did there would some day go to aide future colonists. What I’d REALLY hate is if it were a 20 or 30 person mission, or less, and I disliked half of them. At least on Earth there’s always another crowd to melt into. On Mars there’d only be so many places in the colony to go to get away from someone.

  79. Laika? Oh, please. Laika didn’t have the capability to refuse. If a human went on a one way trip, it would be by choice, with full understanding of the consequences. So the proposal is neither imorral, nor inhumane.

    As for yogic “Flying”? Bumpin ya butt for yoga isn’t flying.

  80. This sounds great.

    Of course this has been done before. ¿You know how many returned from the first trip around the world? 18, out of 260 who sailed out.

    Send a geologist to that Great Canyon place, with a microscope. He would become the first field areologist. Founding a science. Wow. He would be the envy of any scientist.

    I have seen calculations that during the first decades after Columbus, the people that actually moved from Europe to America were just a few each year. A trip starts with a first step…

  81. The lone astronaut eventually WOULD come back, because as technology evolves exponentially, returning him home will become trivial in a couple decades.

    What I like about this plan is that, by placing this hero on Mars, we would be committing future administrations to keep him supplied, and to eventually return him home. His presence there will drive the effort to colonize Mars.


  82. THis is the idea, I have read some SF with this idea and it should be done, here that you NASA drones, DO IT!

  83. Their comparisons to leaving a country or going to the north pole are pretty bad.

    In each, there was/were
    1) hope for return, and
    2) other people there

  84. One MAN and a ration of 10 women selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

  85. This is insane! This would be a suicide mission. I think McLane’s been exposed to too many cosmic rays.

    We are hundreds of years from even thinking of colonizing Mars, let alone in those tin cans that we’re building as spaceships currently.

  86. What I can’t understand is why we aren’t prepping a robot mission right now. Today. We know already plenty of ways to get *something* in the way of supplies there and we know how to send robots that would, at the least, dig a shelter, start collecting water, and purify a few thousand liters of oxygen and other useful raw materials. Or to be still more modest, send a few tiny surveying robots. Tiny, slow moving, solar powered beasties sending their data to a booster for retransmission to earth.

    Seems to me like we should just bloody well choose a promising landing spot, choose *something* we can build with today’s technology, and get some kind of payload on the way in, say, the next six months. And then keep sending them. Every. Six. Months. Or more frequently as we figure out what we’re doing and/or round up more funding. Worst case scenario, the human mission will land at another site, in which case they’ll still have supplies a hell of a lot closer than earth.

    Small missions like this would actually work better if they were private. Which seems far smarter to me anyway. Then they bill NASA for supplies when the NASA mission finally shows up.

    But the longer we wait to start, the longer it will take to get this going. Doesn’t it make more sense to start with one robot crew to work as explained above, another to do more of the same and build a clear, airtight enclosure and make growing medium, and then the third to turn the first enclosure into a high-density greenhouse, (or two or three separated ones with different flora) all started from seed? If it also devotes some effort to purifying fuel, well, hey, who says they need to carry that much fuel?

    Plenty of people are working on the technologies and enough are ready now. No, they’re not “just right”, but right now is far better than just right afaic. Let’s just get our butts in gear and get some useful materials on the way NOW.

  87. The person who goes could stay in geo stationary orbit and remotely control a robot (via high speed full on Virtual Reality type interface) on the surface in real time. Much easier to get them back.

    However that said. I’d rather we expand the ISS, deploy large telescopes in space and accelerate the planet search program.

  88. Two last comments. Yes, I am well aware of the limitations of current robots. But we still have plenty of devices that can run for years if done right. Think of it as a codesign between the Long Now folks and Rodney Brooks’ lab. Maybe this means two really tough robots; maybe it means a hundred ones the size of your thumb, of which half will “die” within six months. But one way or another, it means that while we sit around here on earth planning the human mission, work is already underway to make Mars a more habitable place.

    And next, I ask you to ask yourself some questions.
    1- how small a payload could be of use? Two kilos? Five? A solar panel hooked up to a simple but slow crude ore digger and refiner? And when it’s done you’ve got the metal to reuse. Keep in mind, no communications with earth beyond a once a month ping.
    2 – how large a rocket would it take to get that on the way on the most “thrifty” trajectory?
    3 – How much would that cost to buy at surplus? say, an old ICBM? And to refit?
    4 – What fraction of a decimal place is this amount compared to the cost of sending THE SAME MASS IN A HUMAN OPTIMIZED VEHICLE?

    Sorry about “yelling”, but my point is that even if the frickin’ thing doesn’t work worth a damn, it’s still cheaper, kilo for kilo, than waiting and shipping the same mass along with the human mission. Not to mention the things we learn simply from increasing the number of iterations we accumulate of getting stuff to Mars at all. There is no down side.

    Seems to me like a perfect project for an ambitious and underrespected college engineering program partnered with a corporation looking to burnish their public image.

  89. i can do it and i will Volunteer if anyone is looking for such a person, i study psychology and im in perfect mental and phisical shape to do it. i know i can handle few years alone.

  90. Man. You know exactly what the Chinese will do in order to get to Mars?

    Yep, you betcha – this exact plan – and they will beat us there.

  91. Sign me up, please.

    I am ready.

    I like to get things done. You want this done? Send me up.

    I have no family – no parents, no kids, nobody.

    I am willing, able and simply ready to this.

    Send me up now before I get too old. I’ve probably got 20 years left before I get too old, so ready that rocket for me.


  92. Humans are able explorers, and we have not done any exploring in quite awhile. A privately funded mission by one of our numerous billionaires with the hope of resupply in ten or fifteen years with money donated by all those viewing the live feeds from helmet cams, drones, rovers ect. Children growing up participating in science projects with that lone Martian should make for a large pool of very interested future Martians…

  93. I believe that by the time we will be technically ready for this mission we will also be able to send a large multicultural unborn population with the mission in tubes. Of course this would require more from the base in order to support little childrens needs, but it’s the only reasonable way to avoid all the problems related to the Adam & Eve scenario. Remember these martian born people would not be related so many problems would solve themselves. It also avoids the mental issues related to loneliness and knowledge of no return. Even 2 people would not be enough to avoid those issues. There would have to be a larger population very soon and this population can be brought in compact format 🙂

  94. My god – what is with the aversion to a one way. You know how many people love to be isolationists? You know how many skilled, capable, people, suffer from a terminal illness they KNOW will kill them in a couple years?

    There would be no end of volunteers to this, even knowing it was a 2 year mission with no survivability
    at the end of it all. The amount of knowledge that could
    be acquired would probably be worth in the hundreds of
    millions. Space will not be conquered by those who are
    squeamish about an issue such as a 2 year horizon suicide

  95. There’s a huge logistical difference between a one-way and a two-way trip. So huge that it makes a one-way trip appealing. Here’s an analogy: You want to take a bike trip to the other side of a mountain. The problem is, the mountain is so rugged that a single trip will ruin your bicycle. You start at the base of the mountain, where you have lots of help and supplies. The ride to the top will require a lot of energy, and you need to bring food for all that energy. Once you get to the top, the ride to the base at the other side is coasting all the way, requiring very little energy.

    If this is to be a two way trip, you need to pack a spare bicycle for the return trip, enough food for the difficult ride up the mountain on the way there, and an equally large amount of food for the trip back up the mountain. Note that since you’ll be carrying a spare bicycle, you’ll need even *more* food for the first trip up.

    If it is to be a one way trip, then all the weight of the other bicycle can instead be used for food. and since you’ll only be making one difficult climb, the much larger amount of food that you brought will last much longer, because you won’t need the energy to go back up the mountain.

  96. As to the prople who are appalled at the thought of a one-way trip being a “suicide mission”, think about this:

    *Life* is a suicide mission.

    We get one lifetime; No more, no less. What we choose to do with that lifetime is what makes all the difference.

    Any true evaluation of the value of a life must be based on quality, *not* quantity.

    If I could choose a life that allowed me to do something that would ignite the imaginations of a generation of children, that would cause the people of the world to glance skyward in amazement, that would embolden others to step forward and take up the flag that dropped from my lifeless fingers, I hope that I would have the bravery to choose that life, even though it might be tragically cut short due to the perilous path it followed.

  97. OK, so this will never happen, and the old guy is just having a rant.

    But, why are some of you under the impression that a one-way manned mission to Mars will keep the poor unfortunate selected alive for a few years or months? (Read the comments by GBendt – two thirds down)

    Peter K: Mars does have blue skies as the sun rises/sets.

    NASA Intern: NASA aren’t fools. I agree that humanity will inevitably leave Earth and colonise other places; but not at the deliberate cost of human life. So it’s unlikely NASA will go “moon colony� on us unless everything is perfect. NASA’s history: budget constraints, project slippage = 2030 is perhaps optimistic, though time will tell.

    So what if the Chinese do get to Mars before the rest of the world, through some kamikaze mission? I doubt it will demonstrate technological superiority – any nation that wants to accomplish this might plan a return trip.

    …as for Mr|Mrs Yogic Flying… keep smoking the Marshrooms!

  98. Rustin Wright has the right idea. Start sending many flights long before the astronaut leaves, each one with supplies and robots to build an enclosed living space and (if possible) the beginnings of oxygen generation and fuel generation.

    Perhaps landing near the pole with frozen water (as a source for Oxygen to breathe and Hydrogen to use as fuel) would allow for this, using a orbital power source sending power down via microwaves or whatever method works.

    Many people would be willing to go on a one-way flight! I would, but you wouldn’t take me because of my age and other factors. And those willing to volunteer would go knowing it was most likely to end up being a suicide mission. Who cares! You would get the chance to do something no one would ever do again – be the first human to land and live on another planet! Among other wonderful benefits, besides the exploration and discoveries would be that your name would go down in history. What a rush!

    The moral discussion about not sending someone on a suicide mission, and mentioning Laika are all ridiculous. We kill hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats every year in our pounds! It is nuts to weep over the death of one which might have given human kind new knowledge. And humans really aren’t that different. We have more than we need on this planet. Sending one to die for the potential to learn is worth it (I would go if you will take me).

    And when you die on Mars, your bacteria and fungi will take your body chemicals apart creating the first Mars “dirt”. You would become part of anything that grew on Mars after that (if anything did grow there after your flight).

    I think that planning ahead and expecting tech to advance to assist with terraforming (at least under the dome you or the robots constructed) is worth it.

    We should travel to the moon and Mars to stretch ourselves to advance our technology to assist all humans who remain behind. This happened after all previous flights, esp. those to the moon. It is also an excellent way to get the whole world involved in a single endeavor, to emphasize that we share one world and should get along better than we do. It might be worth the cost for just this reason.

    If Mars and suicide is just too much for our society to accept, then do the same thing to the moon. It is closer, could have a return trip, and can be considered as a trial run for going to Mars.

    I want to go, and I think it is worth it even if I died on the way there. The next man/woman would have a better chance because of the information gained by my flight. Think about it!

  99. if you stopped nasa from undercutting the private space ventures and losing money all the time then maybe they wouldnt have to beg for money from congress.

    For years nasa has made a loss launching satellites just to keep the private companies out of the running.

    perhaps if you spent less time making sure you stayed at the top and more sharing everything then this race we call humans would be able to realise our potential. instead of lining the pockets of the elite

  100. Rustin Wright has the right idea.

    Start sending flights long before the astronaut leaves, each one with supplies and robots to build an enclosed living space and (if possible) the beginnings of oxygen generation and fuel generation. Send many of them…

    Landing near the pole with frozen water would be a source for Oxygen to breathe and Hydrogen to use as fuel. Since it would not be near the equatorial max sun exposure, we might have to use an orbital power source sending power down via microwaves or perhaps this is a place for a nuclear energy source.

    Many people would be willing to go on a one-way flight! I would, but you wouldn’t take me because of my age and other factors. Those willing to volunteer would go knowing it was most likely to end up being a suicide mission.

    Who cares! You would get the chance to do something no one would EVER do again – be the first, the VERY first human to land and be alive on another planet! Among other wonderful benefits, besides the exploration and discoveries – your name would go down in history. What a rush!

    The moral discussion about not sending someone on a suicide mission, and mentioning Laika are not well thought out. We kill hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats every year in our pounds! It is nuts to weep over the death of one dog which might have given human kind new knowledge. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that sending one human to die for the potential to learn so much is worth it (I would go if you will take me).

    And when you eventually die on Mars, the bacteria and fungi which are inside your body and on your skin will break down your body’s chemicals, creating the first Mars “dirt”. You would become part of anything that grew on Mars after that (if anything did grow there in the future). I think that is so cool!

    I think that planning ahead and anticipating our technology to advance to assist with terraforming (at least under the dome you or the robots constructed) can make this doable.

    Humans SHOULD travel to the moon and Mars and beyond to stretch ourselves, to advance our understanding of the universe, and to advance our technology to assist those humans who remain behind. This happened after every previous flights, esp. those to the moon. Many of the things you take for granted today were invented, at least in part, from the things invented in the space program.

    Also, this adventure is an excellent way to get the whole world to work together. It is another way to emphasize that we all share one world and should work to get along better than we do. It might be worth the cost for just this reason alone.

    If Mars and suicide is just too much for our society to accept, then do the same thing to the moon. It is closer, could have a return trip, and can be considered as a trial run for going to Mars.

    I want to go, and I think it is worth it even if I died on the way there. (If this happens, please send what is left of my body to Mars to become dirt.) My attempt gives the next man/woman a better chance because of the information gained by my failure. Think about it!

  101. Why not start with the moon, have a solid present there, learn from it, then used what we have learned, for building a colony on mars, that sounds like a better plan, besides, that also means, more stuff learned, and less of a chance of err.

  102. If actually landing on mars and returning is not feasible how about a manned mission to construct a space station similar to ISS to orbit mars. This could be used in the future as a stepping-stone for new missions.

    This would probably provide little to none more information on mars itself but would provide real long-distance travel experiences and technology.

  103. terrible idea — everyone in the colony would commit suicide within a year, probably before they even get to mars

  104. It’s actually less mass to send a return vehicle (provided you use Mars Direct) than enough food to last a lifetime. And medical and food supplies tend to “corrode” in radiation faster.
    It’s not “colonization” if you don’t have anyone with you, or enough equipment to build additional pressurized structures, including greenhouses. That, again, is more mass than a return vehicle. The math just doesn’t work here.
    I’m all for a new generation of heroes, and getting crews to Mars ASAP, but we need them to come home and talk to the kids face to face, not over a web connection. An elaborate suicide seen by the whole world is not an example I want to set for the next generation.

  105. How about a ship with reusable rockets that can land on mars in one piece with and a method for them to find,mine, and process the fuel necessary to bring them back. Or possible a ship that they leave in orbit and a “mars lander”. With the lower gravity and essentially all the time in the world it seems like it should be possible, at least it would give them and us some hope, something to shoot for.

    The idea of a truly one-way trip is far to depressing for us, not to mention what I am sure it would do to the poor soul who volunteered to go.

  106. So, after we send more and more people over the course of a few decades, the colony becomes self-sufficient, declares independence, and establishes trade relations with Earth. Then, within 100 years, we could be at war! Just think what it will do for the defense budget. The Pentagon better get on it right away!

  107. We ave no hope of making it to Mars and staying for any time period.
    The current approach of using increasingly more sophisticated robotic probes is the only feasable and safe way to explore space or exploit other worlds. We have sent the mariner probes the mars rovers and many others and gained far more than we cold have ever hope to with human explorers.

    Sorry SI-Fi fantasy fans but humans in space is more an egotistic and expensive fantasy than good science.

    Just getting to our own moon proved to be temporary and unsustanable after several near failures of the apollo missions – even the moon is out of our grasp, the best we can manage is low earth orbit and thats an expensive waste compared to what the same budget could do with unmanned stuff.

    In the future people will not explore space instead it will be done by small robots and our task will be to design/build and maintain those robots.

  108. If it is to be a ‘one-way’ trip, why not make it a penal colony? A sort of Martian Botany Bay. 🙂

  109. Some of the replies in this thread are just incredibly ignorant. I would like to see colonization on Mars in my lifetime too, but doing it properly is more important than rushing it just in a vain attempt to re-attune ourselves with our “forgotten adventurous spirit” or whatever.

    Let’s talk practically. Sending crafts every 26 months is going to be far, far more expensive than sending one craft with a crew large enough to be self-sustaining. Considerations have to be given to a wide variety of factors, including medical attention, hardware failure, and quality of life – namely routine exercise. Sitting in a pod for years isn’t good for mind or body. Sending one man or woman is ideal, sure… But it would have to be one superhuman to be able to handle the emotional stress of isolation, as well as being versed in technology enough to single-handedly repair anything which might malfunction. Even being capable of knowing how to fix a problem doesn’t mean that the resources are available or that it’s feasible to be accomplished as a one-person job. What if the person needs medical attention? What if he’s repairing a part of his craft and suddenly a beam falls and delivers a concussion, or an internal injury? Just because you can have experts at NASA telling him how to treat a wound, doesn’t mean he will always be in a condition to do so.

    Financial concerns aside, even if we were to send one or two more people out there every 26 months, what happens if the first pioneer to Mars suddenly has a stroke before anyone arrives? Being the first person to explore an area may be a romanticized idea, but it’s hardly practical in a mission so dangerous and so costly. Hell, even in “Lost in Space,” the concept included a small crew, inclusive of a doctor. If our creative impulses can give us enough common sense to place a doctor in a corny TV sitcom, why then when we are trying to make the dream real, are we so prone to making unrealistic or just plain foolish suggestions?

    Those who wish to argue against Martian exploration at all, just because it lacks certain similarities to previous exploration (widely used as an example here being the Colonial Americas), save the arguments. They’re completely moot. Man moves from one frontier to the next. Of course there are stark differences between crossing over to a new continent and going to a new planet. If there weren’t, it wouldn’t be a new frontier, now would it? Of course it’s more dangerous, more risky, more costly. If it weren’t any of these things, the venture would have already been undertaken. It’s our nature to seek the higher challenge after we’ve accomplished the last. And there’s no reason humanity shouldn’t, but we need to be realistic about it, and not impulsive. McLane does make a good point, that we can over-analyze and drag our feet, but many of the suggestions here are just not plausible.

    Someone argues that we have no reason to go because we are already exploring Mars. Exploration is all well and good, as it furthers our knowledge, but actual colonization is what truly captures the human spirit. True, once it is accomplished, the achievement will likely fade from the headlines within weeks, but it is the desire to DO, to meet that goal, which motivates the technology and funding. An idea that can resonate with the human spirit for adventure will see far more interest and support in the long run than a mere reconnaissance mission.

  110. What can be accomplished by one man that can’t be accomplished by a series of robots? This question is even more important if you’re going to try and advocate sending out someone who is terminal.

    My God, indeed. Other than making a mark in history and being able to communicate marginally better than a robot, if you actually think that sending out someone who is most certainly going to die regardless of whether they go or not, you’re mitigating the exploration to an eventual and possible unexpected close as if you were sending a robot that will eventually run out of power or deteriorate.

    How do you know that they’ll even survive the trip? Wouldn’t that be something, headline news that our brave Martian explorer dies just days before touching down, because we decided to send someone with a terminal illness. Why don’t you just pull the funding for our space programs right now instead?

    It’s a waste of money to fund a suicide mission. No more, no less. Ideally, money shouldn’t be a concern when it comes to furthering the progress of the human race. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and it’s an issue whether or not everyone chooses to accept it.

  111. 1) Build (mostly) self-replicating factories on the moon. (Plans for this have existed since the Carter administration. The first factory requires four Saturn V launches, with another launch for every two factories thereafter.)
    2) Build a lunar mass driver to launch bricks and I-beams (plus other infrastructure items) to Mars.
    3) Build a Mars base, modeled after Biosphere One. Operate it for at least one Martian year without humans to wrok out any bugs.
    4) Send 12-25 people, aged 65+, with enough supplies to spend the rest of their lives on Mars.
    5) Every few years, evalute the feasibility of sending additional, possibly younger, colonists.

    Note that this plan will require no human space flight beyond low Earth orbit prior to step 4. It should be possible to reach step 4 within twenty years of implementation. If step 5 doesn’t work out for some reason, we’ll still want to support the colony as it ages. Japan is currently working on robots to assist an aging population, so that shouldn’t be too hard, or we could still return the last few survivors a lot cheaper than the full crew of colonists.

  112. Imagine the first child that has to be born and grow up on another planet. Only knowing the way of life on Mars. If a return trip ever happened, I bet that kid would freak out when he saw how much is going on on Earth… an alien planet.

    PS. I would like to get things started on Mars. I’d finally feel like my life would have some meaning other than being an engineer for a corporation, and spending the little time off that I have trying to find happiness. There has to be more to it all… this is it.

  113. Stay a little while on Mars and you will become a Martian. Your muscles will atrophy to that necessary for movement on your adopted world. Your trip is one way as soon as a couple of months have elapsed. Even your trip over to Mars will require constant conditioning just to be fit to land on Mars. No zero G for you unless you want to be a jellyfish. As for your support network, it better be a darn sight better than Val Kilmer faced on the movie: “The Red Planet” The stuff we land there before we send the astronaut better work and better be nuclear and solar.

  114. The project could be carried out in 3 phases –
    1] Send robots to build a “habitat” for human survival and monitor the conditions in the habitat for certain period.
    2] Send an animal (dog/ape) in the habitat and monitor it.
    3] Finally send the first human
    Having said that, we could instead focus our energy on a better research project. Assuming that humans originated on earth, would we not be better off investing resources in improving space travel and then searching for earth-like planets?

  115. If you really think you want to go, just watch the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Would you really be able to keep your sanity?

  116. I’d do it, sign me up!

    Surviving the trip isn’t the issue here : we already send astronauts in space when we know there’s always the risk they blow up.

    Being alone also isn’t that big of an issue, if you pick the right person. Especially since we’re not talking about a total lack of communication here. If it’s not possible to directly transmit voice or video messages, you can still get them to the volunteer by adding recordings of family and friends in future launches.

    With the growing popularity of Internet, people have gotten used to staying in touch while not together physically. For example, I’m currently studying at a University in an entirely different province from my family. I email my parents and chat via webcam. I don’t feel isolated even though I can’t see them physically. In fact, we have this week off from school and most people went back home. The only people I’ve spoken to all week are my parents, via webcam. And no, I haven’t posted any messages anywhere else, or even chatted with anyone else.

    I also don’t think that boredom would be a problem. If, for some reason, the volunteer doesn’t have much to do (which I doubt, since I think setting up a colony must take a lot of work) then there’s other ways of keeping busy. Add a few digital books to the mission’s equipment and the volunteer can teach himself/herself something new. With enough free time, they could learn enough to make a useful contribution to the field of mathematics, or computers or whatever else interests them.

    I imagine that before sending someone on a one-way mission to Mars, NASA would make sure that they’re in perfect health. Heck, remove the appendix before sending them off. Screen them for every possible disease you can. Make sure that they avoid all of the risk factors for all of the most common diseases.

    There’s still the risk of an accident and it is inconvenient not to have help nearby if something happens. But accidents also happen on earth!

    Really, the only question should be whether a Martian colony would be useful for mankind or not. I think having the technological advances necessary to plan and execute such an adventure are worth it. Sign me up!

  117. There’s a parasite from Mars discovering about humans and reporting all the data to Mars and mrthyself.com
    Don’t take my word for it…

  118. I think you’re all retarded.

    I’d go on a one-way suicide trip to be the first man on mars.

    go down in history forever remembered as that.

  119. The fundamental issue at the heart of this, is our lack of big booster technology. Today we have no boosters to rival the saturn 5 (which could throw 280000 pounds to low earth orbit), and other relatively inexpensive designs FROM THE 60’S! such as sea dragon and nexus could put over 1 million pounds in low earth orbit (and technology today is even better). Saturn V could lift 7 times more to orbit than the shuttle (which can only drag up 40000 pounds of payload at a time. Although they have similar liftoff thrust. Going with the shuttle and never replacing the heavy lift program is probably the dumbest thing America has done. Well, I guess that’s an overstatement. But its really really dumb that this is even an issue on this blog. If we had some bigger, better, more useful boosters, us humans could send some pretty wonderful missions, includling extended duration stuff, and a bunch of colony supplies, and a bunch of really neat robots, and some return to earth vehicles. The world hasn’t had a heavy lift launcher since skylab (the first US space station that by the way was launched in one throw). It’s crazy to build the space station with 40 or 50 little pieces, in a series of dangerous and inefficient shuttle flights at far greater cost than to just develop some really big booster, and send it up all at once, and then hey, you have a big launch vehicle that can be used for other cool purposes like launching telescopes or people, robotic missions, or big satellites, or orbital hotels, or whatever useful sized payload you want.

    1 way, 1 person at a time? I guess if you’re assuming we need to get there really fast to beat the chinese or something, but I think its a stupid idea. If you’re spending that much already, why not do it right, with lots of people, supplies, equipment, and build it onto the ideas of Mars Direct (Robert Zubrin’s second best book).

    Having the international space station was a good idea. The plan for implementing it was completely stupid (wasted years of spacewalks assembling something in orbit that could have been done by some folks in coveralls much much more efficiently. Whoever signed off on that one instead of opting for a heavy lift booster for the plan needs to be taught a little about economics and strategy.


  120. Here’s what NASA needs: Aggressive goals. In 1962 Kennedy said “we’re going to the moon.” He could have said “the cold war is costing too much, we have domestic problems, etc.” just like today. At the time, there was no nasa, and the timeline left roughly 7 years. So why the F&%# would we need to wait until 2050 to go to Mars? There is no reason. Some president with, I guess I should say guts, needs to say to NASA, build a launcher that throws 3 million pounds to orbit. You’ll need it because 8 years from now, I want a crew of 30 on two separate ships on their way to Mars. 8 years from now I want 2 return vehicles and a nuclear power station already fueled from the Mars atmosphere already sitting on Mars waiting for them to arrive and depart when its time. I want them to have all the gadgets they need to do exploratory work, and I want them to build a base that will be growing and permanently staffed by transient areologists and astronauts from all over the world. I want a really big telescope array set up on the back of the moon by then too, to use the moon as a giant telescope. In 8 years I also want a bigger, better space station up there, with plans to add additional, large space stations every year for the next 30 years. I want this all to be done on less than twice your current budget (which will be far less than 1% of GDP (~40 billion/year) and will be roughly 20 times less expensive than these recent wars in the middle east. At the same time, and unrelatedly, I want to spend 20 billion per year on nuclear fusion research so that we can finally have energy security, and break away from oil and gas, which are getting more and more scarce, and break away from burning food, which is getting more and more expensive. Shore up energy security once and for all by forgetting about the hodgepodge assortment of band-aid energy solutions that often cause more new problems than they are worth, such as wind, solar, biofuels, nuclear fission, and hydroelectric.

    In these two ways, space exploration, and nuclear fusion technology, we will stimulate the economy, and the minds of America, and make the world a better place for all of its inhabitants.”

    Now that’s the kind of s*^t that will inspire a generation of Americans. Otherwise, at the rate things are going, the US will be eclipsed many pwerful nations around the world by many different measures, the least of which won’t be economically.

    Feel free to forward that to anyone in political power in the USA.

  121. One way trip? Sign me up! I would jump through whatever hoops would be necessary to do that. I wouldn’t do it for fame or anything I would do it for the science and to get the hell away from everyone else.

    Just tell me where you want me to sign and I am there!

  122. I like the Adam and Eve angle. Get the religious zealots to fund it, citing that if one man and one woman go to Mars, they will be able to start a new civilization because ‘God made it possible.’ That’s all they use in their own propoganda about Earth; that’s all that should be needed to convince them about Mars. After all, they’re not the brightest crayons in the box.

  123. I also worked for NASA, from 1996 to 2006 as a research engineer. I attended a meeting in 1998, after the successful first Mars Rover mission (Sojourner) when we were riding high and the fever to send a
    manned mission to Mars was at its peak. Before the meeting planning had gotten to the state where a tentative date was set (2011), and the configuration of the mission was decided. We were going to send an
    ‘armada’ of ships, between 4 and 6, some for crew and some for supplies. The crew would have to stay on Mars for at least 9 months, and the entire mission would take around 2 years.

    The person giving the talk was one fo the mission heads, and he was going to different NASA centers for the purpose of getting the engineers and researchers thinking about the various problems that had been identified as mission obstacles. I recall very well how he
    opened the meeting. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are sending a manned mission to Mars in 2011, and we have only two major problems: 1) we have no way to get there, and 2) everyone will die. Your job is get us there, and get our people back in one piece.”

    He was talking about the fact that the type of rockets used at that point were inadequate for the task, and that the prolonged exposure to radiation both on Mars and in space would kill and biological organism sent. But we were all excited and committed and feeling lucky to be a part of this project.

    Then we had some setbacks, culminating in the loss of the polar lander (with the head of NASA and tons of reporters on-site for the touchdown. That was embarrasing for him, and a huge disaster for the
    rest of us). In a sense, NASA hasn’t yet recovered from that. We suddenly felt fallible and tentative in a way we hadn’t before, and the proposed manned mission was pushed back to 2025, and then abandoned for the forseeable future. To this day I still hear jokes
    about whether I know the difference between a centimeter and an inch from friends when they feel like kidding me.

    In my opinion there are two big problems. The first, as was pointed out in the article is money. NASAs budget is around $15 billion dollars. Compare this to the money promised for AIDS in Africa ($18 Billion) for example. And for a very long time most of the money went for 2 projects: the Shuttle, and the International Space
    Station. There is just no money to do things the right way. Most projects that I worked on were begun then ended in a year or so. The second problem is political. It’s very hard to convince a person who doesn’t understand in his bones the REAL reason we have to go into
    space that he should spend money on NASA. You either get it or you don’t, and politicians mostly don’t. NASA is surviving on the momentum it had during the 60’s and 70’s, and it has turned into just-another-government bureaucracy, where covering your butt takes precedence over everything else. If you’re afraid to take a risk,
    you’ll never get to Mars.

  124. “If actually landing on mars and returning is not feasible how about a manned mission to construct a space station similar to ISS to orbit mars.” [above]

    Mars does not have a magnetic field and therefore no Van Allen belts to shelter beneath. If the Earth were drawn the size of an orange, and you drew the ISS orbit to scale, that orbit would be only a couple of millimetres from the surface. The ISS shelters beneath the Van Allen belts (just as the surface of the Earth is so sheltered).

    Humans in orbit around Mars would require shielding; otherwise they would likely die in the first solar flare. Perhaps we’ll invent a technology for this, but it is, in fact, the real problem. At present the only solution we have (for a human on a months long flight to Mars) is crossing our fingers and hoping there won’t be a solar storm.

    On the surface of Mars one solution is to dig down and use Mars itself as shielding. {This would have to be one of the very first things done; otherwise it Would be suicide.}

    {Search ‘Solar Flare’ in Wikipedia and scroll down to ‘Hazards’.}

    Incidentally: the ‘ping’ would be on the order of (for example) 360,000 ms (depending on the widely varying relative positions of Mars and Earth). You would need quite a different protocol. I don’t think our friend on Mars would be playing World of Warcraft with anyone on Earth in the sense that we’re accustomed to.

    Better to send a Ham Radio Operator (which almost all Astronauts are anyway). They wouldn’t be bored at all. I can’t wait to work them!


  125. I’ll buy this when I see people making one-person-no-return exploration and colonization missions to the middle of the Gobi desert.

    Otherwise its so much crap.

  126. Isn’t it about time that private money was leveraged for interplanetary missions ?

    Funding for these mega expensive projects should not be the sole responsibility of the state. Pretty much everthing else now involves some kind of pubilc private partneship, and there are plenty of very cash rich organistaions and individuals who would invest in this kind of long term opportunity for the right return.

    Perhaps it’s time NASA ‘s technological lead was privatised along with international agreement on future exploitation of space.

    If there was money to be made we would be there tomorrow.

  127. What will the MARTIANS do about illegal
    ALIENS from earth invading their plannet?
    Expect Earthers go home demos!

  128. It could become a penal colony like Australia was, but then we would have to deal with that annoying Martian accent and Martian TV hucksters trying to sell us cleaning products and other crap!

  129. New Australia — build the biggest ship we can afford, send our most hardened criminals with all the air and food and supplies that will fit. The “Botany Bay”.

  130. P.S. I volunteer Billy May and all his cleaning products. Maybe with the low density toxic atmosphere we couldn’t hear him!!!

  131. Heck- SIGN ME UP. I dont even need “Eve”..There’s not a woman on this planet that’d want me anyways.

  132. I’m probably too old ,but I’d go. Its not as bad as it sounds. Send one or if possible two (male and female) Even a man and wife can survive together for three years, send one or two more every 26 months. Build up a colony. Sooner or later technology will preceed to the point where a return capsule is possible. Chances are very good that few colonist would even want to return. Its a very good idea.

  133. I think as humans, we need to get to another planet as fast as possible to ensure our species survival, I propose a series of 1 way 1 person missions with diferant equipment and supplies on each mission, eg, first mission, actually 2 ships with 1 person in each, with diferant gear to establish a small but diverse mars/home base, such as a living quarters and food production module on one ship and the second ship that is moduler with a small vehical for exploration with food and medical supplies, then follow up in 26 months with a 3rd ship and person with any needed or requested supplies as well as more scientific gear or building supplies for further expansion.
    I feel this would be the best way to approach something like this, It would have to be funded and developed internationally with module contributions from the nations involved, we could then send smaller cheaper unmanned modules to build the colony every 26 months with new people shipped every 2nd 26 month cycle as our technology and ability to return trip possabilities increase. In 10 years from first mission, we could have a small but very useful mars base to lead us on mankinds quest to explore other planets.

    Just my two cents,..

    Oh,..i’m available for this mission at anytime, just call me,…

  134. It doesn’t really matter. China is going to send people to Mars first. I believe their manned moon mission is a coverup for a manned mars mission. They want to show the U.S. how much better they are. Can you imagine the public outcry? It’ll be the new space race except they already won.

  135. i wonder what will happen if christians and muslims were caged during the 180 flight time together lol !!

    haha would be funny

  136. Too late, I’m already there.

    I want worldwide and historical fame from this!!!

    I still get to see my girlfriend right?

  137. We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.
    It is about time we start growing up as one race…and make that leap for a better tomorrow….ONE DREAM!! ONE MISSION!!

    I love it!!….and the whole world will too!!

  138. I would undertake this mission without any hesitation. We need something to jump start space exploration, and somebody is going to have to be De Gama/ Columbus. Many of the other early explorers did not survive their first missions, but it certainly brought others forward. If nothing else I would get to live on mars like I have always wanted to.

  139. First let me say I like the concept of a one-way mission but it is really geared towards those of us who would like to see us reach Mars in our lifetime. I would too but lets be real. For those of you who have ethical problems with a one-way trip, please understand that we were perfectly willing to send many thousands of marines to take Mt. Suribachi for example, knowing nearly all of them would die. My dad did not, very lucky, otherwise I would not be writing this. Most of his friends did. They went in for a belief in our way of life and a love of freedom, why would a decent scientist not choose to do the same for the love of knowledge. Not for glory, not for notoriety but for the spirit that drove them as individuals, to overcome and to defend what they loved, even knowing they would not be there to enjoy the rewards. I myself was a cave diver when I was young and though I did all I could to make sure I would come out of the caves alive but I always understood that my chances of dying were far greater than nearly all of you who have posted in this thread, no disrespect intended. It was my desire to explore, for my own reasons. I am not comparing myself to my dad and his friends, there is no comparison.

    The stars may be essential for the continuation of mankind, and I have no doubt some of you would say why bother, we have major problems here and we are not worthy. You, I am not addressing. The next “major” tragedy that may effect mankind in the next few thousand years is far less likely to be nuclear war but rather the impact of a major asteroid or even more certain the next super explosion of the Yellowstone Park magma system both of which will happen. From what I understand there is virtually nothing we can do to prevent the later but the asteroid impact, we may have a chance to change the outcome. Our collective mentality though seems to be one problem one cure. Want to explore an asteroid? We have to build an entirely new program. Go back top the moon, a new program again. Going to Mars is an incredibly difficult project that even the US cannot do alone.

    We currently have a next to useless multinational space station up in orbit. Would it not make a good deal of sense to use it as a construction platform for a crew to gradually assemble, please excuse me, a starship for the exploration and defense of our solar system. The ship platform should be designed to easily accept newer technologies, replace older sections, propulsion, life support but in essence become a ship that can be upgraded and move us around near earth planets and develop the needed technologies to gradually reach further. Starting with conventional propulsion and ion drives and upgrading as technologies become available. A first mission might be a romp around the moon and return. As the ship gets larger and more advanced use it to do fly bys of asteroids and collect first hand data. Eventually it could be used to reach Mars, drop a lander and retrieve it, no suicide. Hello!!! Another use for this vehicle would be for asteroid intervention, an asteroid which will eventually impact the earth. Frankly I think it is easier to change the trajectory of an asteroid than to minimize the next super volcano/ tectonic event. Either scenario will destroy us utterly or send us back to the Stone Age or worse. A seed repository buried in the artic, where no one living will know how or have the technology to retrieve it, is next to useless. Space maybe our last best solution.

  140. I feel the same way about this as I do about careers in politics. Anyone who desires it, should automatically be banned from it. What would it say about us, to knowingly and deliberately send someone on a suicide mission (because it would be just that)? What could possibly be gained from such an idiotic venture, other than the disgust and scathing form the international community?


  142. I’d go. As long as my family was taken care of. To step foot on another planet has always been my dream. Never coming back home would suck but I would do it. Inspire humanity to follow me.

  143. When we first went to the moon, we first orbited and returned. What’s wrong with the first few flights being “orbit and return?” We could even orbit a space station there that will accept visiting crews for longer periods. Landing on firm soil will come in due time.

  144. now I wonder who it was that said “we will go bcause we choose to”. It was not “it’s impossible”. The nature of man is to go forward at any cost, including human life .There has been inumerable instances throughout history of man choosing to die for progress. If the chance arose I would go, not for the fame of dieing on another planet, but for the experience of being the first on another planet. Not for America, China or anyother nation. But for mankind. What better way than to be remembered for all time for being that pioneer. Send me now but give me the pill so I decide when it’s time.

  145. I think the idea of using Mars as a penal colony is a great idea. We would send a message if you F-up on Earth your going to one-way ticket to Mars. They have a chance to make that harsh environment livable or die. We shouldn’t send any criminal; but anyone who is sentence for execution. This way they have a chance to contribute something. Australia is a very good example; for it’s time it was remote, harsh but people survived (though much more survivable than Mars).
    These people that are sentenced to death wouldn’t mind; they probably would sign-up and there will be less of a psychological loss to the participant and those of us here that will make the decision to send them. Come-on we will send them with everything imaginable (food, technology, a chance to do good for humanity). They will be much cheaper than creating robots to do jobs on earth (scientific observations, etc). If I was sentenced to die and I had a chance to serve the human race one last chance..come-on who wouldn’t.

    Don’t create robots that does lousy jobs to explore Mars…send these people that are sentenced to die..with tools to explore etc…) The more we send the more we as human race will find ways to make it livable for future exploration.


  146. The amount of misogyny in the comments is astounding. I suspect the men demanding sexually arousing women who would put out at a moment’s notice, or (much worse) an entire harem of them, have some things to compensate for below the waist.

    Actually, I’d suggest sending a woman. What we don’t have in physical strength we have in endurance, physiologically. We last longer and have better reserves of body fat.

    Shit, after I consider my research work done (I’m a neuroscience student planning to get a PhD in neuroscience and planning to research the neurogenetics of intelligence), I’d be willing to go.

  147. In response to the guy who demanded ten women:

    Women are not sexual playthings. There are most likely women smarter and more accomplished than you.

  148. There are some really ridiculous ideas here, Mars as a burial mound for the terminally ill? Mars as a Penal colony? These missions maybe a waste… but sending an qualifyied person that can scout and coordinate future missions, and help found a colony is not.

    Do it on the moon first? Sure. Send adequate supplies and a carefully planed and laid out habitat, absolutely. Inform the fellow that he may be there a while – should he decide he doesn’t want to stay, yeah why not. But don’t do it because its risky and he may die even if every precaution is taken? I could die tomarow, given the infinate stupidity of man times 6.5 billion. Come on – it’s been said before – risk not – lived not.

    And yes – to live Is to die presently, there’s no other way around it. In my humble opinion we should not shink back from the oppurtunity to foward what we can do and what we know because it’s riskier than doing nothing. Because doing nothing will get us just as dead just a few years later.

    Let’s get it done!

  149. I’d fight you for the chance to go, and I’m hardly unique. So I don’t see the problem with making it happen.

  150. I’m all for it and I know the perfect person to send!This moron lives under me and he’s always got his stereo playing T Rex’s “The Slider” over and over again. He’s driving me nuts and I think he’s the perfect candidate to send to another planet to live alone. How much beer do you think you could cram into the spaceship?If you could provide him with,say,a case of beer for each day he’d be up there,or maybe with a homebrew kit,I’ll bet you could get him onboard.First chance you got you’d have to send his idiot,300lb girlfriend to join him in Martian bliss-they could dance the night away to “Spaceball Ricochet” or “TelegramSam”.That way any mutant kids they produce would be safely away from the rest of the human race. He likes to smoke pot,too,so you’ll have to do some research to see if there’s enough oxygen in the Martian atmosphere to keep his joint lit. Say the word and I’ll drug him and deliver him to the space center of your choice.

  151. Better to send his severed head instead, to save weight. And he can still drink beer!

  152. I vote we send optimus godzilla to be the first man to land on the Sun. Ya with me?

  153. Why spend billions of dollars, time and energy to send one person to a barren rock in space? People wake up! Theres nothing there but rocks and dust. No atmposphere. No breathable air. No water. NO LIFE.

  154. Im gonna chuck in an idea that should get some healthy reactions!!
    A volunteer would be easy to find, if the person flying has nothing to stay back on earth for..a chance to go from a zero to a hero…so how many life term prisoners in the worlds jails would jump at the chance of being free again, albeit on another world? Okay thered have to be careful screening- (no psychos etc) , and the chance of redemption and being out of the prison serves would be motivation enough, wouldnt it? Lets face it, being free is most cons’ motivation!

  155. .

    one-way: Yes

    one-person: No

    it could/should be one-way – MANY persons, to build a colony on Mars, then, someday, they may come back to Earth, maybe, building the return’s vehicle with ISRU materials


  156. What’s the big deal? Gregarious types just can’t fathom that there are people who really hate being around others. Loners would have ZERO problem going away forever to live on Mars.
    The problem you’re going to run into is if you send enough brave, independent colonists to the planet, eventually, they’re not going to be mere colonists of earth but an independent planet, force to be reckoned with. Couple that with a harsh life that will make them even stronger and more self reliant, earthlings better treat them with respect.

  157. The pre-Apollo one-way Moon trip was dramatised in Hank Searls’s novel “The Pilgrim Project”, filmed as ‘Countdown’ starring James Caan.

  158. Be practical. Invest in robotics, and next gen power which can be used on earth now as well as offplanet in the future.
    Develop a global culture and economy that brings people together by sharing their strengths, instead of exploiting the weakest for the benefit of the corps and elite.
    Stop living beyond our means, and be patient. We will get to mars or whereever when we are ready for it. Colonization has a strong element of abandoning the status quo due to a sense of helplessness. we need to make sure we are not abandoning the needy (ex the poor in slums across the world, ppl with diseases like aids or cancer, etc) – or even giving the impression of doing so.
    Of course, the first step is to stop spending trillions we don’t have in unwinnable wars against foreign religions, drugs and now terror.

  159. Good luck with that – and while youre working on world peace and reversing climate change can we increase the NASA budget, and enlist more private involvement so that just incase humanity is beyond working out its problems we can do this while we still have the industrial capacity.

    (: cheers.

    To wait for world peace, given the human condition is to wait forever.

  160. Let the Chinese send a man (and they WILL), and we will bring him or his remains back around 2050.

  161. Let’s be clear, ending the currnet me war and preventing future wars against ideas or culture is not world peace. War is inevitable, but for enlightened nations (US) it should be kept as a last resort.
    I am all for an increase in nasa’s budget- once we cut funding elsewhere. We will get much better returns for our investment if we are more open to privatly funded efforts as well. But with military objectives paramount, nasa will not share its expertise.
    Migrations are usually done by the poor and powerless to escape a bad situation. See jews fleeing pharoah to the promised land, muslims fleeing mecca to abysinnia and medina, pilgrims escaping the church of england to the new world, jews escaping widespread antisemitism to palestine, etc. Of course this is usually followed by revolution and more violence (the human condition you refer to). Maybe this points to the lack of motivation or desparation in the worlds most powerful country in exploring other options instead of trying to defend its current domain.
    But it also bodes ill to your intention of escaping this mess to an off world utopia.

  162. I have no delusions about what exploring Mars will be about – I hope others don’t as well. We will take with us everything involved in our current human condition. If we arive at a Utopia it will not be while edging out a living in a hostile environment. Once the population ticks up on Mars we will have to employ the same old tools of government in general, the same old concepts of law, order and the philosophies those are derived from. But maybe there will be more room to care more for each other on another world, given how difficult it maybe to survive. At least in the begining.

    Its interesting that it may actually simulate some sort of Utopia in the begining, but this perception could be created in any small community, even here on earth. I doubt Mars would present the material of real social change. But I’m sure we could have a hack at not completely ruining paradise, one more time.

    What I think colonization would do is add to the quality of life with a windfall of new knowledge and spun-off technology – as has always happend when humanity has pushed the envelope. Maybe pushing the envelope on such a scale will prove humanity can rise above and we can minimize the stupidity and short-sighted fundamentals of where most of our wars come from. But I don’t think this is a realistic expectation.

    The benefits of further maned space flight, stands though, in my humble opinion. We should do what we can. While we can.

    Tomarow is not gauranteed.

  163. they could never come home b/c their bones and muscles would have degenerated past the point of no return. they’d be bedridden on earth. that said, who the hell would ever do this? its an exile from life

  164. Josh has another good technical point.

    demineralization and muscle atrophy.

    Even if a return ship had a rotating section that simulates 1G, you would probably still need years of physical therapy to recover from any real time spent working on Mars or the moon.

    There is without a doubt a point of no return where a complete recovery is imposible.

    And even with that – finding qualified volunteers for this first mission wouldn’t be the problem.

  165. Not all of us are were raised in an environment of dependancy in a big city; some of us can fend for ourselves. Some of us do not like our current situations, and would take whatever steps are necessary to change those situations. There are still people on this planet who do not welcome the interferences of other people in their lives. If a safety valve is not opened for these people, they tend to do undesireable things like starting revolutions. I would volunteer for this mission in a heartbeat. Those who are addicted to their therapists will never change the world for the better, and frankly, their spineless opinions are not relevant to this discussion.
    It is interesting to note that we were closer to going to Mars, with a shortage of technology and an abundance of backbone, back in the mid 1960’s, than we are today, with an abundance of technology and a shortage of backbone.

  166. How about this solution for the loneliness factor: a virtual reality environment that the astronaut could spend some of his time in every day. Each day could be programmed here on earth, sent to him while he’s sleeping, and then he could get up and live in that world for a couple of hours to experience social interactions and other things he would be missing in his life.

  167. Who needs volunteers? China sells prisoners’ bodies against their wishes to give us cool science exhibits, so why wouldn’t they just throw a death-row inmate into a rocket, and launch him? You don’t have to pay him, and he’ll be happy to die somewhere other than in prison. We’re all running out of room in the prisons anyhow.. A remote penal colony with red soil, that will eventually become a tourist destination… Mars is the new Australia!

  168. The idea is good, particularly because after the first guy gets there it commits us to further exploration or else the first guy dies. That should make subsequent funding more politically expedient.

    That said one of the “technical challenges” that is often ignored is that the radiation environment outside of the earth’s magnetosphere is absolutely lethal. If we want to get people there not only are we going to need a lot more money, but we’re also going to need a public that is a lot less squeamish about putting nukes in space. There probably won’t be any fusion breakthroughs that we can fit on a spaceship and the people who believe that there are going to be any woowoo shortcuts have watched too much star trek. The only way to survive the journey intact is to get the person there fast and that means a huge nuclear thermal engine which the public won’t accept atm.

  169. As part of the Mars Homestead designs, we have been proposing that most (not all) of the first crews would spend the rest of their life on Mars. There are always at least a few volunteers to go when we present the plan to a group. This plan would send first 4 people, then increasing to 12 people. They would concentrate on construction of a permanent settlement, with greenhouses for food. They would take perhaps a 10 year supply of dried foods, and have the option for continued resupply of food if needed. See MarsHome.org This grew out of my observation that about half the cost and more than half the risk of a trip to Mars is the return-leg back to Earth.

  170. Ugh, why is everyone hooked up on the one way part? This would benefit all of mankind, there would be plenty of suitable people for the job that would volunteer for this.

    And what good would it do? He could send very insightful information back to NASA that only a person on the planet could provide.

    Also it isn’t that “sci-fi ish” to think about starting a colony.
    Mars Radiation? He would have suitable shelter I would assume. They would provide some sort of greenhouse to grow food, and provide oxygen. There is endless possibilities, and I’m sure there are already current, qualified, astronauts willing to do this. Even if it means never coming home. It is for the good of mankind, quit getting stuck on the one-way part. It is much bigger than just 1 life.

  171. Humans can do a whole lot of things a robot can’t do (at least today’s robots). e;ve had robots on Mars for years. While they are remarkable accomplishments, and have taught us a lot, they have only travelled a few hundred yard from where they landed. Communcating with them to control their movements is painfully slow due to the time it takes for the signal to travel 50 million miles or so. A human on Mars would teach us as much in a week.

    A male-female crew is a good option, but sending a new spaceraft and crew evey 26 months would get expensive. Storage of sperm and ova would prevent the problem of inbreeding. But unless the emrbyos were raised in vitro, the female crews would have to spend most of ther time on Mars pregnant.

    In a great science fiction book whose name escapes my memory (written by Greg Bear, I think), Earth is destroyed by alien planet-eaters. But humans set out on Ships of the Law to find the murderers and avenge the earth. The humans on board were childlren hatched in vitro, raised and taught by robots called “Moms.”

  172. Send a one-way mission, with enough life-support gear that researchers can live there. Start taking measurements.

    Send more people — a lot more. Get a nuclear power source running. Find out what we have at hand for refining carbon.

    Send more people, always more people each trip. Pack the machinery to make carbon monofilament in .4G, and get them started on that.

    Use Mars to test space elevators. Whe we know how to do it in .4G, really know for sure how to get it right, build one here. Then, as Heinlein put it, we’re halfway to anywhere.

  173. I don’t see how a mission to Mars could ever be anything BUT one way. Mars has like a third the gravity of Earth. Before astronauts even set foot on Mars their muscle mass would already have begun to atrophy. Even if we just sent them straight there and back they’d have to go through some rehabilitation to get used to Earth gravity again. Plus check this out: at 1/3 gravity, even bare rock would be more comfortable to sleep on than a feather bed. Would you really want to come back? 😉 I’ll take some Martian Zzzzs while I wait 5 minutes to for Houston to respond to me (Light speed – what a limitation)

  174. First of all the comments are definately better reading than the article.

    Secondly, some of the commenters are great examples of everything that is wrong in the world today. They do not want someone travelling alone on a suicide mission to mars only because they feel that they have some perverse right to tell others what is ethical. That decision should be up to the astronaut and him alone.

    Finally, to all the people that think we should rely on robots. Do you seriously believe that robots can even come close to the decision making abilities of a human?

    Can a robot look at a planet of trillions of rocks and say “wow, that one looks really interesting. I should pick it up and have it analized.” Absolutely Not. It may be programmed to pick out examples that are out of the norm compared to the majority of the other rocks, but only a human mind can understand the term – fascinating……

  175. Okay, dude, I want to go to mars, but a one way trip, your talking about essentially killing somebody else! I would rather take the time to make sure and solve problems so a small 3-4 man crew can go to Mars, and back, sure it will take longer, but think about it, what if they thought the way your thinking when they sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz to the moon. Thanks to them getting there and back, our technology not only advanced beyond our wildest dreams, and every ohter country respected us,but we were able to do it again, and again, and again. Sure, we’ll run into some problems, (Apollo 13 is proof enough) but as Apollo 13 proved, we can over come it. Plus, think of the families of the person who would go, knowing they would never come home and see all their loved ones, knowing they’ll never see another human being again. The mission should deffinitely be o two way trip.

  176. Interesting that a new class of disenfranchised pioneers is forming, the intelligent, well educated people who can’t wait to get off this planet where the only frontiers seem to be pushing the limits of social insanity. Wanting to replace “American Idol”, “Jackass, the Movie”, (and on and on) with real challenges.

  177. Amazing article and I guess the sheer amount of comments are a testament to that !

    I like the idea. Very poetic and romantic, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    Oh well, we’ll see I guess !

  178. !i will go! im 15 and it will take at least 10 years for something like this to ever be ready, so i will be 25 and you will be able to train me for 10 yrs! send me back a link to sign up to be an astronaught and the qualifications needed and i will get started!

  179. how about “man and woman” and not put pressure on them to raise a space baby. Give me a break. I’m for being a space adventurer but a one-way ticket to Mars would make me tie my tubes before blasting off…

  180. McLane’s argument for a ‘one way trip’ is flawed. He says that it was initially impossible to make a moon landing but within a few years technology had been developed to overcome this.

    Who’s to say that technology might not be developed within the next few years to overcome the return trip problem?

  181. Grant’s got it right, send 30 dudes with heaps of stuff and nuclear fusion and all that. Get serious about the space program again. Invest a lot of money into it and use it wisely.

    Grant for President 08

  182. Send a man up to Mars, alone, and then listen to his broadcasts, as he slowly goes mad and runs out of supplies. Weeeee, sounds great !

  183. Honestly,

    If you really think that this could happen, then we have to admit that we would first and foremost have to be able to do it here on our own moon. If we can put a person on the moon with NO HELP while he/she is there for a minimum of 18months, then we can consider this as a possibility, but really that person would have to live there for a good ten years before anyone would realistically consider putting someone out on Mars.

    If we can not even do it on the Moon, where we can retrieve a person, why in the world would we try sending someone to try it where we can not bring them back. It would ultimately turn into millions of Euro just tossed up and lost forever if the person did not live.


  184. >Give me the latest gaming system
    >and a renewable power source,
    >and I’ll gladly fly away to Mars
    >and spend the rest of my life
    >playing Halo. Wait… No multiplayer?
    >Okay, Metal Gear Solid then.

    You could have multiplayer, but the lag would probably make it tough to score a headshot :).

  185. Anyone who was around when Laika the dog was shot up into space will remember how bad it made the Soviets look. People all over the world, including me, were astounded at the brutality of the whole matter. The Russians, having realized that they made a very big mistake, never tried that trick again; the next space dog was returned safely and they made a big deal out of giving it a happy home afterwards. We had our own space chimpanzees (Able and Baker) but we brought them back alive.

    One thing that makes us Westerners is that we have ruled that every life has value. And we’ve never been known to profit by departing from this principle.

  186. Well I must say as an advocate of the colonization of mars. Specifically the creation of http://www.liveonmars.org. I am however still amazed yet again that we as a people think that the smaller load the easier it will be. Come on one person are you kidding?.. No matter the size no matter the number of people going this will be a massive undertaking. but one that can be done and what i believe to be easier and cheaper than expected. The problem does however lies with the nations and current space agencies being directly and completely in charge. Our proposal is massive but would jump and entire mankind entrance into space, not just the select few. When will we learn the ways of the old government and space agencies and their big dollars are over..

  187. Well i think its all has to start somewhere.I dont think planet earth is gonna last forever ,it would be better to have company on the mission.5 years my goodness is along time .Ill think about doing it but ill need 50million for a down payment and 50 million when i return ps is there any inflight movies and if i dont return i want the other 50 million to goto family or a charity of there choice.

  188. The 25 million was my idea she just wanted the ball but i told not to sell her self to cheap

  189. technically a non-return solo mission to mars is logical
    the marsonaut can catch a ride back home courtesy of extraterrestrials

  190. I think first of all we need to find out what kind of goodies have been hidden from us by black programs concerning advanced propulsion. This would decrease the problem exponentially. Also, I agree with Sarahwhen she said we have not depleted our planet and she is right about taking our problems wherever we go. Before anyone volunteers ask some more questions, Mr. McLane has tunnel vision.

  191. hi i m shobhit frm Delhi (india) i m not married so no problem go to mars and i have no work in earth so i wana go to mars.
    if have no problem for nasa.

    shobhit Agarwal

  192. It’s not really a one-way trip with no way home.

    There’s just no PLAN for a return home.

    To survive, astronauts would have to work very hard at harvesting minerals, water, etc. from Mars.

    Just having them on Mars broadcasting about it would make it likely that another mission would occur.

  193. 50 million what you want money for.most would do it for free im sure if you ever got back.politics would be a good job or media

  194. protection for mars enviroment no problem.man first sheltered in caves from bad weather .caves have a constant temperature wherever you are.its a start.if its good enough 1000s of years ago why not now

  195. I fully believe that we have the tech to send someone there right now, though it’ll take a little while to get a working, long-distance vehicle set up.

    The main problems I have are “wouldn’t the material to start a real colony take up a lot of mass?” and “how do we practically plan to fund this?”

    Really, the US may have a lot of money, but that’s because we don’t generally do costly things that have low return values. The Iraq war is one example of such a thing, and look at the shape of our economy now.

  196. I’d say yes in a heartbeat, to be the first person to stand on the surface of another world, and look up at a new sky, Now that really is the stuff that Dreams are made of!

  197. Just need to say this for those who keep arguing.
    “Lets go the Moon again before we speak of going to Mars,”

    Delta V Requirments From Low Earth Orbit

    Low Earth Orbit to Mars Surface
    needs a delta V of 4.8

    Low Earth Orbit to Lunar Surface
    needs a delta V of 6.2

    As you can see Delta V requirements are greater to get to the Lunar Surface than Mars.

    Don’t believe me go research the requirements yourself.

    We don’t need to go to the Moon first.
    It like saying we need to go Antarctica to get to America from Europe.

  198. Inspite of our favorite candidates, a mission like this is not what a civilization does. There is nothing on Mars that cannot wait until we have a reasonable expectation of a successful two-way mission.

    This not the way civilized people behave.

  199. I’ll go and I have a wife and daughter.
    They were not impressed by my suggestion.
    (perhaps a good thing!)

    As ‘Spock” says : “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few”

    I’m sure there would be plenty of volunteers
    Maybe the start of a new species “Homo Technicus”

  200. Wouldn’t being on Mars be easier than being on the Moon? After all, Mars has tons of water and CO2 to exploit, more minerals, a wee bit of atmospheric pressure and a bit more gravity. And sure it’s cold, but not with temperature swings like the Moon.

    Heck, if you have a nuclear power plant with you, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

    I’m not really all for manned exploration, but that’s the point of making potentially one-way trips. The point is not to explore as much as it is to colonize.

    And as many here have mentioned, the cost is negligible compared to the Iraq war. Zubrin’s Mars Direct would cost $50 billion and that’s with a bonus return trip. This war is already in the trillions of dollars!

    Whatever the case, a lot could be accomplished before anybody even goes there, like setting up the nuke plant, labs, construction equipment, factories and greenhouses.

    It’s a bargain!

  201. I have a funny feeling that NASA does not get enough money for its projects because of the face that NASA continually puts out reports that its projects are useless.

    I remember reading in USA Today last year how NASA officials reported the last 20 years of experiments were a waste of money and time.

    You think Congress is that dumb to hand out money? Hey Congress, I have some tests to run, give ME the money. The test will be called “How lots of money can get an ugly guy laid.”

  202. why not take this idea to its ultimate conclusion with a larger ship containing a larger sample group able to be self sufficient and head off to the nearest star it would of course take generations but think of the fact that that the human race had eventually left this planet and solar system with a view to colonizing space

  203. Mars is full carbon dioxide that kills, this is mission impossible, if God wanted us on Mars , he would have us grow wings.
    Why not take care of Earth and stop sending fuel to Space Missions, help the people on Earth and stop wasting tax payers money in space on other planets.
    FEED THE WORLD, clothe the world, stop high gas prices, stop turning humans into robot zombies in the work force .
    Take care of this world and humans and animals . Bring Prayer and God back to the world. Get Satan off the planet. Lets make Heaven on Earth.

  204. I’d love to go…but 1 question…….will my internet work,I can’t go a day without playing pogo!!!!!!!!!

  205. Why is this idea nuts? There are a lot of people who would be willing to go on this mission. You could get a lot of supplies there well in advance, periodically resupply the expedition, and possibly eventually rescue the explorers when it becomes possible. I would like to go one further, send groups of people to start a colonization effort. They could live off the local resources, and in a few decades when the technology gets better, we could make it possible to make a Earth return flight possible for whover wants to come back to Earth. When the first pilgrims came to America, I dont think they had any intention of going back. This is simply an extension. Every effort would have to be made to maximize the survival of the people who went, but I think its a fantastic Idea.

  206. Here is the piece that really struck me: “the human psyche has seemingly changed enough that a one-way ticket off the planet is not acceptable…” I believe this is true; not in the sense that there aren’t any adventurerers left among us, no doubt there’d be volunteers aplenty and qualified as well. But the human psyche has changed. We’ve had a century of socialism, east and west, that has taught us if anything that we are children and we are weak. We’ve been told that this world, and this life is all there is, and so we are afraid to risk. And to be a man, well, that has been all but outlawed. That a man (or woman) could make do, survive? On his own? Heavens. The idea will never fly.

  207. Why?

    It would be easier to colonize Antarctica than Mars – at least Antarctica has water and oxygen.

    It would be a stupid mission costing billions and resulting in nothing except a dead astronaut. How inspirational is that?

    For a fraction of that price we could send hundreds of rovers and probes all over the solar system and learn something actually interesting besides how long a guy can survive breathing canned air.

    The Apollo missions were partly bravado but mostly scientific – you didn’t have the technology in 1969 to build robots that could collect samples and set up all kinds of experiments. You needed the human astronauts. Today you could automate it with much less cost and risk.

    Humans will go to mars eventually – when technology improves enough to make it practical. Until then it makes no sense. I understand the long-term goal to “colonize the stars”, but this isn’t the way to start. This is like sending a guy across the Atlantic in an inner tube.

  208. For us to lauch a suicide mission to Mars today, or within our lifetimes, is pure hubris.

    What we’re doing is robbing our descendents of the honor of being the ones to get there first – after they’ve perfected the technology to make it practical and survivable.

    Suppose some lunatic in the 1940s decided to launch himself into space in a V2 rocket, with no life support or re-entry system, killing himself for the glory of being the first person in space. Would that have been inspirational for anyone? No, it would have served only to blemish the accomplishment of the real first man in space, who waited until the feat was at least possible, if still risky.

    We’ve already had the thrill of seeing the first men on the moon, the first robotic landings on Mars and Venus, the first flybys of the outer planets, and the first interstellar probes. We’ve had our share. And, frankly, we have a lot of unsolved problems here on earth. Let’s leave humans on Mars for another generation.

  209. 1.Mars could be colonised first with smaller organisms such as the extremophiles, but first we would need to know that there are no native organisms on mars to start with.2. Has anyone tried to grow a culture of extremophiles in zero or low atmospheric pressure? 3.A one way one person mission to mars would have a very finite mission time. How would the poor explorer be euthanized at the end of his mission?4. The robotic missions provide fantastic data on the extraterrestial environment. These should be miniturised so that whole armies of tiny robots can interact and investigate the planet. some in the atmosphere some on the ground and some tunnelling underground. These could be hired out to people who would like to do their own exploration at the end of their useful scientific life to help fund further missions to mars.

  210. What is the purpose of such a mission? Collect rock samples? If we need more data about mars, we can get it using satellites/robots.

    If the purpose is to make mars into a human settlement (at some point), why not send a colony-size craft, even if its just a one-way craft.

    Sending one person sounds useless to me.

  211. Talk about the ultimate, get-away-from-it-all trip! No neighbors. No cell phones with stupid ring tones. No pollution. Hmmm…. an entire planet to one’s self.

  212. A trip to Mars! For what? For the few devices developed that might be usefulto a few industries? Spending huge sums of tax dollars to prove to ourselves that we can put someone on that planet simply doesn’t make sense at this time considering all of the problems main-street America has to deal with. The United States elite needs to reevaluate it’s scientific goals. The needs of the many should certainly outway the interests of the few.

  213. You know, it sounds a little crazy to me. Never returning to Earth… I’d not go for it. Sure, I won’t be lonely, I won’t be starving, but seriously, if one thing goes wrong, then you’re dead. Plus, I’m afraid of burglars even at 2 P.M. in the afternoon, thinking that only humans are stupid and brave enough to risk the consequences of stealing, but what about curious aliens? What if there is life on Mars?

    So pretty much, I need HUMAN CONTACT. I think many people do, despite what they say. An “Adam and Eve” situation does seem more inviting, but there’s the child problem.

    I think we should do more research on Mars before actually sending a single man there. Probably send at least two, maybe three if there’s enough space.

  214. this would be a big thing for earth and may infact bring the people of earth of all countrys a little bit closer togeather. When the space program started then everyone was excited to see how it would turn out and if this idea turns into a sucess then we will be able to get posibly one day to other galixys, admititdly that will be way far off but if this turns into a sucess then we may possibly find a way to make other planets livable. this will not only help with open the room for more space and all that but also lok at the fact that Mars does have its own materials so they won’t exactly be comepletly dependent on earth there is water on mars. the soil could possibly be (H2O hydragen and oxigen meaning what is needed fro the plant to live will still be there its just what may also be there without the water that may be a problum)used to grow plants so that food will not be as big a problum also air will be not as much a problum. The Adam and Eve idea would be basicly a start off I once the program gets started and the place of livablity expands then less and less would be needed maybe even livestock could be sent up even making it to the point where they could other than possibly for a time sending more people to Mars to incress the pop they may become completly indapendend of earths suplys and from there we could try to go from planet to planet to basicly take advantage of the vast space our solor system provides other than things like medles and fuel. the posabiltys are imense life would be beter if we did not have to take all our woulds recorces from earth as the population grows so does our use of everything else ya not a big thing now but it may be later and if that cost a few billion dollors for humans to exist on other planets then thats ok with me

  215. A one way mission to Mars is exactly what should be done. Of coarse you could send a few rockets with equipment before-hand for the astronaut to live on like a portable shelter to remove ones astronaut clothing as well as a portable helicopter for transportation around the planet and as many comedies to enhance the astronauts stay on the planet mars until a resolution has evolved to return the astronaut safely to earth! Put it to you this way the astronaut would not live on mars forever and eventually have a way back to earth..

    I hope this really rolls into something real!

  216. Im excited about this the only down side is the wait and that I may not be alive by the time we get anything going

  217. “Worn out this planet”!!!!????
    So we’re just going to go round killing planets then? Get bored of one lets go trash another. Your off your head. Who would want to go on a suicide mission – finding the person will be the hardest part of the mission. But I guess if we don’t find anyone we’ll just send a defenceless animal? Oh yes lets send a dog into space and kill it needlessly. great.

    I’m not liking the people of this planet as much i did before i read this.

  218. Believe it or not I espoused atheism based on looking up at the vastness of the universe… I had it backwards…thanks be to God now I have returned to the faith of my baptism and realize that the vastness of space and all that is in it is not the result of chance but rather has been created. The vastness of space, all of the galaxies, nebulosites, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, etc. are a testimony to the greatness of God.
    Why should we bother to travel into space? Seriously this is the result of a denial of a God who tells us that he has created everything, and wants us to come to know, love and serve Him while on this earth.
    Forget about NASA and one-way or two-way trips to anywhere in the solar system. What do we know for sure about these trips? What do we know for sure about our lives here on earth (mars or the moon)? They will come to an end. I would much rather live a life here on earth in conformity with God’s will, die in a state of sanctifying grace and receive what “eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men, what God has in store for those who love Him.”
    If you look up into the night sky at M31, if you believe the astronomers you are looking at ancient history, to travel there would be impossible. But if you believe in God, “my ways are not your ways”, if you wanted to travel from one end of the universe to the other, all you would have to do is think about it. If it sounds too fantastic, well when do you think NASA will be able to accomplish such feats? You wouldn’t die of radiation sickness…you’d die of old age.

  219. There are some amusing comments in this thread. haha.

    Everyone is looking at it the wrong way, its not a matter of whether YOU would do it. Its a matter of is there a reason not to let someone else do it if they want.

    Would you have a problem if someone wanted to live by themselves under water or in a forest ON EARTH for their entire life?

    If the answer is that a person should be able to decide where to live their life. Then what’s the problem?

    Life on earth is just as terminal as life on mars. If we’re lucky we get to die of old age. Location is irrellevent to this. Maybe the new mars inhabitant would lead an enjoyable life of science, exploration, im sure they could read ebooks, play computer games. Perhaps they’ll lead a better life up there than most of hte world lives down here.

    The costs involved would be worth if for the vast amount of science that could be done.

  220. Do we really need a volunteer for this? Why not instead make it a mandatory assignment for some politician who has shown a remarkable dislike for people here on earth anyway? I can’t think of one specifically, but I’d look for any sociopath who had used his power to, say, execute more people on death row than any other; had undermined a country to the effect of annihilating a million of its citizens or so; had betrayed his own people with fabrications and so undermined his own country’s future; and who, to the end, hoped to continue to attack any citizens of foreign countries who didn’t agree with him. There must be SOMEbody that perverse, and it would not be a cruelty to send him to Mars, where at last he could quell his obsessions that every other human being but himself was a terrorist. Such a person would thrive on Mars. At last he would have attained his utopian, one-man democracy. Doggone; the only problem is I just can’t think of anyone that horrible. And, another problem would be that the remaining people on Earth wouldn’t take any interest whether he lived or died. Too bad. I guess my idea just won’t get off the ground.

  221. You are all nuts. Science Fiction have made you dense.

    You are all forgetting the very inhospitable environment of Mars. UV…thin atmosphere… the lower gravity effects on bones..
    IF the guy survived long enough to perform science experiments you would constantly need to send him a 26 month supply of food and water. Or was starving to death part of the article?

    Making better and smarter robots is the answer… use Mars as a testbed for what is needed for exploration of the outer solar system. There are other places such as Titan that are of exceptional interest but would be impossible to send a human to.

    Robotic explorers are a better solution… sorry it doesn’t make you Star Wars fans get all excited about human exploration but that is tough

  222. Why a one way trip for one? Technology has advanced beyond the 18th century notions of adventure and blind heroism. Think big.

    Space exploration is really to benefit Earth as a whole not the glorification of a few. That is a more daunting task but that is exactly how space developement is happening now:

    Sputnik led to the countless telecommunication satellites we have today benefitting many with the internet.

    It should be about building infrastructure. Eventually Mars outposts may be self sustaining.

    I say send plants and mushrooms to Mars first..
    The first astronauts should be PLANTS, FUNGUS and LICHENS. They are better suited (excuse the pun) than humans to live on Mars.

    A one way ticket to Mars would have no lack of volunteers. But have we seriously thought of all the risks?: Risk is one thing; a suicide mission is just plain stupid! The cosmic radiation alone would finish off human adventurers if freezing cold and asphyxiation doesn’t from any equipment failure.

    On the other hand, Plants are a tough bunch and if we loose a few who cares? No one seems to mind that millions of hectares of forests are cut and burned on Earth every day. So I’m sure no one would mind if a few hardy plants died trying to settle on Mars.

  223. Hi we are from the planet mars that makes us martians. Many years ago some of our people crash landed on your planet. we want them back plzz.
    p.s or i will incinerate your intire pathetic race bwahahaha *cough* hairball sorry.

  224. maybe there is no life on mars
    but i would go to check soz about last mail joke lol

  225. The fact the human life would be lost is obvious and evident. We already know that would happen. They would not survive in the planet for very long.
    However, in the time they were there, they’d do a better, quicker job than a trillion dollars of robots could do. That’s the benefit.
    Learn a ton about Mars in a cheap fashion. And sacrifice a human to do it.
    Once you get passed the fact the human life is lost, it becomes quite clear the benefits of the mission.
    I just read dal’s response, who’s suggesting we send our own life to Mars. Absolutely not! We’re not trying to populate the planet at all. We’re trying to learn about it. The only reason to take any form of plant-life would be to see if it could grow in the ground there, but then destroy it so it doesn’t spread and potentially wipe out any life already there.

    Due to the fact the number of volunteers would probably be astounding — people who want to do something more with their life like than the mundane and boring — I’d say the mission is a really good idea.
    Honestly, though, anyone who’s a science fanatic would happily sacrifice themselves for this. I could spend the next 50 years of my life studying and researching, only to end up contributing less than a fraction of the knowledge I could give to humankind in this single mission. Death would just be a part of contributing so freakin’ much.
    Of course, problems arise when you consider the person’s…other responsibilities. Family, loved ones, dependents, etc. It’d have to be someone who doesn’t have too many connections. So, in that regard, I don’t think I’d be the one for this mission, were it to ever go down.

    Those are my thoughts on how the mission is logical and a pretty damn good idea.

  226. Sure but lets give the first explorers a chance and let’s really get a foothold on Mars:
    I’ve thought about the low Martian air pressure and lack on important co2 atmospheric concentrations to fully support vegetation and humans:
    With Earth at sea level having an amospheric pressure of 1
    Mt Everest has .35
    Mars .008!

    One solution is self deployable greenhouses covering acres near the poles. CO2 released from the dry ice would fill the dome and spores/seedlings would be sheltered from sand storms and build from there.

    The domes would arrive first: inflatable enclosure with self digging perimeter ‘foundation’ Think of an acre wide parachute floating down without strings but with a weighed edge with self driven anchor bolts and an activated foam edge seal on landing. Dome would fill from onboard air bottles while solar trapped heat and solar heat panels would free dry ice and water vapor from the ground. Seeds and spores would take root and

    .. later robots can land and dig a tunnel from outside the dome under its walls up into its interior-while leaving sealed airlock doors behind it-just like beavers do. Meanwhile simple digger robots would pile mars dirt around the edges with foam binders -creating a reverse moat buttress the dome around. Eventually even simpler robots could act as window cleaners to remove dust from the dome surface to let the sunlight shine inside the dome. Then dumber robots would scoot around inside and outside the domes filming the whole thing- especially the growing lichens and bacteria patches on the rocks!

    After a decade of this bizarre spectacle, the air pressure would be breathable like that found in the Andes or the lower slopes of Mt Everest and a few human travellers can arrive. They would get inside the dome by going through the airlock tunnels -like beavers do and have a viable base camp.
    The only black box tech required that doesn’t exist yet is some sort of solar powered magnetron to block cosmic radiation. Not all the technologies need exist yet but please make the effort at thinking this through for a success.

  227. This is a great article, and I enjoyed the replies. I have a theory, there is right now a Mars Flight underway. Its being flown by Steve Fosset the missing? adventurer !
    He departed from Earth sometime after his alleged dissaperance in late 2007, the whole thing being funded by Him and Branson in a Rutan built abd launced spacecraft. My theory and I am stuck with it!!

  228. Very elegant:….then add solar photovoltaic arrays to Deimos surface and superconducting wires to the tether and presto> gigawatts of electrical power to play with electrolysis of ice to useful oxygen and hydrogen on the surface to refuel the return trips. not bad at all..and obvious spin-off for Earth..

    And all those robots on MArs are going to need repairs and those plants tended. Not to mention the complex assemblies of all those large parts for chemical plants to really pressurize those domes.

  229. the first place to go should be deimos easy land easy launch. attach a nuke engine . slow it down a bit. from 30.3 hours to say mars synch time. might take a while but so what. we got lots to do. park that rock over designated landing sight. you now have a com sat a fuel dump a space station. also plenty of yummy materials to work with. by this time we will have thether technology to let our brave folks up and down in a more dignified manner. we could do some serious stuff. transfer materials on a scale that is very cost effective. this system gets stuff done in a big way instead of just barely. deimos rules. we got stuff to do.

  230. Why sure..but hey a large rocket with all the gear pre-installed can park in-sync orbit anywhere while the tether can start hoisting stuff right away.
    not bad at all..

    Just a space station with rockets does the trick..a movable elevator machine room.

    But Deimos does have allure: its exotic, has raw materials, the science value alone is worth it and it’s BIG!
    Wiki says:
    Dimensions 15.0 × 12 × 10.4 km
    Mean radius 6.2 km
    Mass 1.48×1015 kg
    Mean density 1.471 g/cm³
    Equatorial surface gravity 0.0039 m/s² (3.9 mm/s²)
    0.00040 g (400 µg)
    Escape velocity 5.6 m/s (20 km/hr)
    Rotation period synchronous
    Albedo 0.068

  231. Deimos has a mass of 1480000000000000kg
    1,480,000,000 metric tons

    Thats a lot of inertia

    the martian day is 24.7 hours
    Deimos orbit is 30.4hours
    at a speed of 1.35 km/s

    Yes that would take a big engine to slow it

  232. BTW the Sahara is a more valuable piece of real estate than Deimos:

    it has breathable air
    lots of solar energy
    is accessible by humans in a matter of minutes
    close to large body of water in liquid form
    temp range is hot but survivable without a pressurized suit
    it can be terraformed (unlike mars which can’t hold an atmosphere),
    there is life there carbon based like us.

    try finding that correlation of attributes on any planet in the solar system

    just to put things in perspective

  233. Deimos; con’td

    Correction: one would have to speed up Deimos’ orbit around Mars since it takes 30.4 hours for Deimos complete its orbit around Mars versus only 24.7hours for the full planet rotation.

    To crudely calculate to change in speed required to sync
    first calculate distance travelled in one orbit
    presently at 1.35km/sec for 30.4hours
    distance travelled=1.35kmx60secsx60minutes per hour x 30.4hours=147744km

    then from that calculate speed need to cover that same distance in 24.7hours (mars rotation) 147744km/24.7hrs
    or 1.66km/sec

    a difference of 0.31km/sec

    I leave to others/later to figure out the acuray of this figure and want energy (thrust) is required to push Deimos .31km/sec faster…

  234. thanks dal . this concept has so much going for it. the tether is way easier for mars than earth. i think divine providence placed deimos where it is. we tweak it a bit and mars is ours. how to get this looked at. anybody out there with the knowhow to crunch the numbers. what size nuke engine. how long to mars synch. one tether strait down. other tethers at angles to different bases. on tether rides at top of atmosphere launch small planes or gliders with cameras
    rovers to remote points of interest. that rock may be the most valuble piece of real estate in the solar system. we got stuff to do.

  235. since when should we, humans of this earth, begin to play God. There is only one created of man, one creater of nature, and one creator of the universe(s), thats God. Lets leave the “creation of new life” up to him. If God chooses to create life on a new planet then so be it, who are we to challenge God, but if he doesnt then who are we to try?

  236. thanks for the correction. ok boost the rock to mars synch. mass of tether tiny to mass of rock. mass of tether large to mass of space station. what length tether to mars synch. sahara can not get us to mars. we got stuff to do.

  237. correction moon takes 28 days to circle earth slow moon down drops into lower orbit moon goes faster. at 23000 miles geo synch. we got stuff to do. deimos is de most.

  238. Hey, this idea is ridiculous.
    How about all that fuel, ride and feed these starving nations,lower the price of fuel, yeah, all the fuel going to Mars and humans are paying tax payers dollars zombying their lives away for the ticket for the rich to go to Mars. Read up on Jupiters Rings and find the real story, or read between the lines.

  239. Well you should not compare money spent on going to Mars – to starving people and all that is wrong with the world . How much fuel and money is wasted on Car racing . And we give money to every country in the world even our enemies . So stop bashing the space race . Space born discoveries will some day save us all . THANK YOU .

  240. dirk! are you nuts? slowing the moon down and speeding its orbit? what a disaster that would be with tidal tsunamis or worse!

    Mars is a better sandbox to carry out such antics

  241. Sounds like fun .. for a while. Internet will be boring slow and well it takes months for the room service.
    But sure a cool destinaton when arriving in a preprepared structure.

  242. the country is busy fighting wars, nobody is thinking about space at all, i think mars plans are in the toilet, and moon, well its something the Chinese want to take on next. As for Mars?… maybe in 200 years there might be a human mission to mars. Up to that point there will be a lot of dreamers fantasizing about Mars. Financially nobody is going to waste money on mars, religious groups in USA want to spread Jesus to the whole world, that’s why Columbus was exploring the world.

  243. Prices of fuel and food going up sky high, wonder why?…….all the tax dollars going into space.
    Humans need to take care of Earth and leave Mars in God’s hands.

  244. It’s our nature to know more and more. Everyone would like to know how life would be on Mars, or on Jupiter, or on any planet. But I think we should postpone it till we have created harmony, world peace and eradicated poverty on earth. There are scientifically proven methods to help bring that about. Once our own planet is sorted out, then let’s explore the rest of the cosmos.

  245. Sounds like mad scientists are trying to build a tower that God will surely knock
    down. Lets take care of Earth and let other
    planets find us, they probably have better
    technology and fuel.

  246. WAKE UP – aren’t christians not supposed to believe in life on other planets. We have become this intelligent for a reason and we should explore whatever we can. I’m happy my tax dollars are going towards this. If they didn’t, the politicians would put the money into their own pockets. Better my money is spent on this technology than on their selfish needs. Hopefully I will get the chance to visit Mars before I die.

  247. Grant, nothing prevents Christians from believing that life is out there. You are referring to the medieval mindset of fundamentalists, please don’t lump the whole of Christianity into the same group as a bunch of closeminded, bigoted, ignorant religious fanatics.

  248. This is not worth arguing over at all, you will wise up as you grow older and open your mind to the outside of the universe.
    Maybe God will give you new vision.
    Take Care and God bless ya.

  249. It doesn’t matter whether the astronaut dies or not. They’ll still return, it’s just they’ll be Mystorons when they do 😉

    “Some of the views expressed about this topic are truly unbelievable. It’s scary to think they get to cast one vote in the next election just like me.”

    What kind of comment is that? ‘They don’t agree with me so they shouldn’t vote’.

    As for people arguing we should stay on this planet because got placed us hear; I would take the oppsoite view. Why else would God put all those moons, comets, asteroids planets, stars, galaxies, clusters and superclusters in a universe that’s, what, 27.4 billion light years wide unless he wants us to explore it? There’s no other intelligent life at our technology level in the galaxy for the simple reason GOD WANTS US TO SPREAD IT.

    As for who too send, it’s obvious: do it Polynesian style; a young married childless couple. The Polynesians colonised other Islands because they sent their young married childless couples off to colonise other Islands. Send more every time there is the chance, and soon a colony will be set up.Having two people means both could be qualified as doctors (can’t be that hard to get them up to a satisfactory level, they don’t need to be specialised doctors in hospital wards). Other redundancy could be introduced; criticle skills could be multiplied.

    Plus it reduces the need for a bed down to one 😉

  250. interesting comments, I think it’s an incredibly shor t sighted idea, Why spend all the time and resources to send one astronaut who could in all probability, break his leg in a crevace a mile from the habitat on “sol3, or catch his tool belt on the ladder of the lander and hang” upside down ( humans are notoriously fragile creatures.)
    Would the first people to volunteer be the antisocial ones you want to place your entire bet on?
    ” col travers, Houston”
    “what?, thought I told you guys not to call anymore!”
    we are still waiting for the soil analysis results..sir”.
    “Not until you guys send more pizza and stream me the latest wow software”.

  251. Ther’s an answer to that: don’t send only one. What sort of people would volunteer for a 2 1/2 year mission anyway? Would they be antisocial then?

    I kind of doubt the type that volunteers would be that antisocial. The might not be as extroverted as most people, but they won’t be the type of WoW addicts. Mainly because WoW addicts wouldn’t be allowed to go.

    They’ll be maintaining contact with Earth.

  252. One person, one way mission to Mars. Sounds like a good
    starting point. Follow up missions can follow with supplies
    and people. But don’t forget to give the person a bag of Mars capable seeds to begin the Terra forming process…

    BTW: All those superstitious people whom speak of God. Do you not
    know that we were created in Gods image. We are children
    of God, we are gods..

  253. Ok first all of those who bash the thought of a one way or even a cohort of people going on a trip like this can stay in your cushy computer chairs and rot, it was the fight of the human race to get to the moon, with little regard to the side effects of those who went. Did the world care if that person or persons suffered death, maybe a little but we pressed on to go for it. we will be taking the same risks to send some one to mars. It is truly the Human way to travel, to find new lands. Truly it is manifest destiny that still drives the thoughts of those looking to expand the lives of all of us. so i do ask If god is really sitting on top of us and he/she has made the entire cosmos than we shall press on to try to find the answers. Heaven, Hell and the Cosmos are all the same. Truly gods among the ants are those who are willing to go on to better the all of earth.

  254. Well Mr. Wake up your ignorance is grater than the entire cosmos. With the economy going down and gas going up it would seem to be a geed idea to send you to Pluto. Even if we turned all of our resources on to earth do you really think that the world would be a better place. It is not for America to police the world and bail out the ungrateful who in turn exploit us. i would Gladly give my life to go to Mars, Only to get away from the hate and nay say of those like you. If you look at all of the exploration in the past, look at the economies and those leaving. it is the same thing to day as it is now. I would say that 8 out of 10 chance that you would not be here if it was not for the expansion of those people. Mars is the new West, if every thing plays out the way things have in the past, this will bring new wealth to the human race, not of money but knowledge and a hope of a New start. History has seen your type and the only outcome for you is a sub par life, bitching about how bad things are. So I say to you Stop watching all of the cartoons and get off your duff and help change the world

  255. I’d go! As long as I can have enough food, water a blow up doll and get the latest issue of Huslter once a decade or so.

    Sign me up!

  256. Man is his own worst destroyer. We kill for food, we kill in the name of our God, we kill for all types of various reasons. We are to primitive at the present time to venture into the universe, and spread the bad effects of our species. We have to do our home work here on this planet, and learn to live together.
    We have a lot of learning to do here first, before we spread out into the universe.
    I know everyone has ants in their pants to explore the unknown, but lets not show our faults, and bad habits out side of our own world untill we can get a handle on them as a human race. I really think most of you understand the point that I’m trying to make.

  257. Well for Ray, i do say you are right. But on the flip side it would take an act of epic disaster to strike the human race that takes out many people before we could get along. the faults of humanity is what makes us, us. So lets venture out and maybe, Just maybe that will bring together the scourge and the adept as one and the human race can progress past this violent chimp state on a blue sphere that is being chocked to death. Off to a planet that is lacking the Life we have made here and a fresh start to unite the race of psychotic apes blasting each other.

  258. Oh Well….MR. ZAN or whomever you are, for your information i am a lady and i think you have a very negative attitude and yeah, you do need to go to Mars cause you done flip your loop big time,
    How about prayer changes things…GET A LIFE MAN or perhaps a JOB>

  259. All this talk about going to Mars, i done my research and what i came up with was that mad scientist think Jupiter rings have so much gravity that it is pushing Mercury, Venus and Earth toward the Sun, so they want an escape from the planet Earth, like Mars. So , only the super rich will make it to Mars but even if they do , it is no guarantee that they will survive, only a chance, which that would be up to God, not humans to decide. So do your research and re think Mars. I actually think higher intelligence will come to Earth and we will not need to explore Mars.

  260. One of Jupiter’s moons (Europa), although a bit farther than Mars, seems to be a lot more interesting than the rusty planet we’re trying to approach.

    Europa is a massive body of water.

  261. As Saladin the Wise is a patient man so am I. your words are empty and null. when the economy falls and every one is killing each other over gas and supplies you will wish you were not here, as i have stated above, the economy drives the explorers of the world on. If this world of psychotic chimps wants to blow it’s self to hell instead of going out to better the world than so be it. My negative words are towards those who are not even willing to open there minds to the concept. as a race we are doomed. If we can not unite as a global government than all of the death blood shed and hate will go on. This drove the exploration of our ancestors and it is doing so to day. SO Mis. Wake Up or so you go by it matters not what you think but what you do if you beleve this to be a bad thing go waste your life by protesting this out front of a building, if not Well it is your life.
    As for all of my fans on this page i bid you adue and moving on to another post or site or ware ever i am needed.

  262. There is a book out that gives a feeling for what it may be like to be the only person on Mars. Check out “As It Is On Mars” by Thomas W. Cronin. It is actually the first of a multi-book series. This first book is the best in the series I think. Not a bad read at all.

  263. LOL ZAN is right on allot of that stuff Wake Up you have a bad out look on the future if you think that humans should not even try to reach out to mars, Who knows we may find some thing that can change the way we look at the world as it is, or even find another fuel source not known to us on earth. it sounds like a good thing to send an advanced scout to mars. As for the adverse effects of being all alone, truly that person would not thay would have last season’s American Idol to watch, might be backwards but who cares. Plus the communication’s rate betwen earth and the craft is not as vast as it seems. Put up a relay Sat every so often and you are good.
    Star Wars for the win.

  264. I’ve just had a closer look at the image at the head of this article – is our intrepid explorer looking at the “Face on Mars” rock?
    I think we should be told.

  265. The most expensive suicide EVER!!!!!!

    And please, WHY GO TO MARS?

    Don’t misundertand me. I love Space exploration, but I think that use that money to pay to go and come it’s a nonsense. With less money than that Earth could develop Fussion Energy, New Ultracapacitators and Batteries Space Elevators, Space Habitats… and definetely bring us to space.

    Don’t believe the opposite. Go to Mars is not going to make any difference. It’s only a way to spend lots of money and have an entire generation.

    Think it. We send one person to Mars… if you were the “president of thew world”, after that what should be the next move??? Go again? Or say, Ok, now start to go to the moon regularly…

    So, why don’t we start with that? Private money only invest and research when revenues are expected. There are revenues in Moon, L1 and LEO… not in Mars. And with all the new researchs we could go to Mars, a little later, but cheaply and being mastered other key technologies.

  266. Mars has always captured my imagination. It may sound far-fetched but the many games about space exploration and even the games based on Mars (lets take Doom3 for example) aren’t really so far fetched when you sit back and think about things. Lets assume a one-way trip to Mars in the beginning, what do we need to survive?

    – Shelter
    – A vehicle (ideal oppertunity to test a derivitive of solar cars!)
    – Oxygen
    – Food / water
    – Communications

    Thats it. Picking the right place on Mars in the beginning would be essential. Thermal imaging could be used from one of the orbiters to pick a location on the planet that never gets too cold during the martian summers and winters. I’m almost positive there must be areas of the planet that would not have temperatures drop a maximum of below -50c.

    Power could easily be provided by a thermo-nuclear generator, wouldn’t have to be huge, say big enough to provide enough power for 5-10 people. A Recycling plant of sorts I imagine wouldn’t be too difficult to establish on the surface of Mars to recycle water. Fresh water supplies could be dealt with by finding a way to purify the water from one of the permafrosts on Mars, and even a very low-tech approach could solve this, condensation, and purify the water made through that.

    For food a greenhouse would not be too difficult to set up to grow food. Things like wheat, potatoes etc should be easy to grow. Shelter could quite easily be dealt with, the transport used to take the team to Mars could double as living quarters once landed by having a pressure vacuume and secondary bulkhead door for additional safety from the poisonous atmosphere and possible corroding properties the martian dust may have.

    Of course a lot of these supplies would need to be sent to the planet a few years before the team arrived so everything would be ready to be used. Protection for any vehicles could come in the guise of a heavy stainless steel “hood”, thats then bolted down into the martian soil. Remember gravity on Mars is only 38% that of Earth, making building for a small team quite easy as objects would be 62% lighter on Mars. Venturing on the more ambitious side of things pre-programmed drones could be sent with the inital supply shipments to build the greenhouse, power plant etc and maintain them until the team arrived.

    One possible problem is muscle and bone loss, a simple way to overcome this would be exercise machines. Colonisation of Mars is very possible here and now, forget about the future.

    All it takes is determination. I doubt anyone would ever be bored exploring a new planet and the view of the two Moons of Mars and the view of Earth would simply be breathtaking. Our gradual increased presence on Mars could also be all it takes in order to kick-start Mars, no specific Terraforming program would be necessary. What we need now is for people to be so shocked about one-way trips, which as I described is far from futile, and for people to volunteer. I do.

  267. okay, you humans, mars does have carbon dioxide which would grow plants easily if the ice glaciers were broken down to water to water plants taken up to Mars to grow to have life on Mars for humans to live.
    It doesnt matter anyway because , the plan is to have life on Mars in the next 1000 yrs for our ancestors to live on when this Earth is destroyed by the Sun unless Jesus Christ comes down first and that is a whole new ball game.

  268. Me and my hot honey want to go. Just land a greenhouse, power generator, and shielded habitation first.

  269. I must say, WAKE UP, are you a troll, or do you really believe what you say? The Earth being destroyed by the Sun in 1000 years? Rubbish! In 1000 million years, though, yes.

  270. It is a very feasible idea to send a crew on a one way mission. Just send astronauts or cosmonauts that have terminal end-of life illnesses. They are going to die anyways….

  271. Let’s live on the Moon for a while FIRST. THEN go to Mars. I’m sure NASA has thought of this. We would be crazy not to do this first.

    It would be the best way to test out a human’s ability to live on another rock for an extended period of time. A place to test our skills needed, and find out what we might come up against to live on Mars. Not to mention a staging ground for the trip to there.

    It would be the way to stimulate the economy, and unite the planet. I say, it’s possible to live on the moon in about 30 years. Visit on Mars in 60 years.

    Our space program has come a long way in 30 years. Who knows what we can do 30 years from now? Even 60 years from now?

    Kids now that have all these crazy ideas on what we could do, just might be able to accomplish them as adults. I’m sure our early relatives never thought of the day when man would set foot on the moon.

  272. The variables are endless.

    1. How many trips do you want to the atmosphere to get your ship ready? (Which would be wise) If you want to tow it. Then you have to calculate the cost of going into orbit.

    2. What type of fuel are you using to power what? Each ship uses a different amount of fuel. Depending on the size of each ship.

    3. How much thrust are you using?

    4. How much fuel is used during lift off?

    It’s impossible for us to calculate how much fuel you would be using. There are too many variables to decide from. It all depends on what NASA has planned.

  273. Of COURSE they’d be able to find people for this trip! That psychologist from Illinois has it all wrong – there are definitely humans ready, willing, and able to meet a challenge such as this. They would be the true adventurers ad explorers of our time.
    Live on the moon first? Nahhh! It’s way more feasible to actually LIVE on Mars. Besides, from the Moon, you can still see Earth quite clearly… that’s cheating. Haha. Good point though; a sort of stepping stone. As for me, I’d go “live on another rock” any day. Imagine how humankind would progress! Where do I sign? And train? And…

  274. MikeH Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 12:04 pm
    “Let’s live on the Moon for a while FIRST. THEN go to Mars.”

    Rubbish talk.
    The Moon has no resources, wasn’t it recently found that no water exists at the poles on the Moon. No atmosphere either. What are you going to breath and drink up there, helium 3?

    Besides we lived on the Moon for a few hours back in the late 60’s early 70’s, so we’ve done that. So lets get our ass to Mars.

  275. Flug = Flag? We don’t want a Flag planting mission, we want a colony mission.

    ‘We lived on the Moon before’? No we didn’t, we went there and spent a couple of days there. ‘I saw, I came, and I left’.

    Without cheap EtO (Earth to Orbit) transportation we won’t make any progress in space. Let’s develop cheap EtO, colonize the Moon (Importing long chain Hydrocarbons), move on to Near Earth Asteroids, THEN launch manned colony missions at places like Venus. Oh, and possibly Mars.

  276. What? Why would it take a “major crisis”?
    I’d go there anyway!
    Also, why not colonise the moon & Mars, at the same time? Simple as XD

  277. they should have a one way trip to mars with the new adam and eve…I will gladly go as adam…..not for the glory or fame but to do the investagations need ed to help save earth…this would be the last great rodeo and a chance to pay back all I have taken from earth……It would be my honor……..DOC

  278. Im not sure if Ive commented on here yet, and Im sure tons of people have already said this, but; sign me up. For years Ive said I would go on a oneway trip to Mars. I would be honored to die on another planet.

    And everytime someone asks me why, I simply say “to be the first”.

    Plus it would be a whole lot better than dying on Earth. Plus all the science and understanding that could be done by a human explorer would be incredible.

  279. also it costs lots of $$$$$$ for fuel and the econemy is not in the greatest shape. They should wait till the econemy is a bit better. and where are they going to get all that fuel.But if they get it they have to make a HUGE FUEL TANK

    (im 8/////)

  280. The answer to the fuel question is a concept called perpetual propulsion. It would be a propulsion that perpetuates or in other words harnesses its own energy to increase its speed. Once you get into a constant rate of speed you can exit the earth’s gravitational pull and continue on to mars without using any more fuel. In space you are in a free fall therefore Newton’s first law of motion comes into play where “an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.”

    so once you theoretically push off you will remain in that speed and direction indefinitely until you hit something. In other words you could throw a rock in space and it would keep going forever.

  281. i want to go and plant herbal things and create a new world with no government because they would just screw it up. Mars will be a peaceful planet.

    i will go cuz i have no job. i want a bicycle too so i can go exploring for the rest of my life. I will then write a book about my life on mars and sell it for billions of dollars. i’ll use the money to buy my way home again.

    peace. love. mars.

  282. Breaking News….Cavemen found on Mars.
    Also caves, water, springs, forests, crystal rocks.
    Wow…..Now we go back to ancient civilization and its happening on MARS…..

  283. Jim McLane says the mission is no more risky than “any more than you would say climbing a mountain alone is a suicide mission”. BAD ANALOGY!

    People who climb mountains intend to return. No one climbs mountains intending never to return except suiciders… which Jim McLane denies is the case for the solo Mars shot.

    Perhaps a better analogy would be… duh… there is none! People on this or any other planet do not go one one-way missions. Suicide for the advancement of science (or for fame or ego) is still suicide.

  284. Just because this is a one-way mission does not necessarily make it a suicide mission. If the plan includes not only basic supplies but systems that will allow the person to grow food and have other life support functions available, this is not suicide. There will be increased risk and the person will have to be extra careful since there is none to provide medical care. This is also true of other people who have gone to live alone, far from other people.
    This is a far more extreme environment than anyone has tried to service in alone before but that doesn’t make it suicide. All it does is make the planning requirements more intense.

  285. oh wow, you go do it then and send some pepsi
    cola or a beer up to them cave people living in them caves on Mars. Dont go fall in love with some cave woman now…haha

  286. The one person mission to Mars should be able to use much from the new Mars rover mission. It will soft land with over 85% of the mass of the Apollo lander. It also has a new heat shield that is about 15% larger than the one Apollo had and able to withstand much more heat.
    If the lone Mars explorer lands near enough to the new Mars rover then many of its capabilities will be available. Doing so can reduce the amount of stuff that needs to be sent for this mission, as well as reduce the cost.

  287. Sending just one person doesn’t make sense to me. However prepared he or she seems to be, nobody has ever experienced Mars and nobody can predict how they would react. I suspect the unfortunate person would be stark raving mad before they even arrived on the planet. Man is not a loner, but a social animal.

    A one-way trip might be possible if supplies have been sent in advance, enough to last many years and get a colony started, but it should be a very large group that is sent, not one person.

  288. “Man is not a loner, but a social animal.”

    I’m sure that this is true to some degree for everyone but the amount of needed contact varies widely from one person to the next. There are many people who seem to function well with mostly virtual contact. The person traveling to Mars will have communications, including Internet with the new time delay protocols created just for space travel. It is true that instant messages will get less instant as the distance from Earth increases. The delay from Mars can be over 20 minutes IIRC. This will make a normal conversation difficult but many online conversations are stretched out over time just because people live in very different time zones so are not all awake at the same time.

    I suspect we will be able to find people willing to go who would not go ‘stark raving mad’ under these conditions. Also, the long range plan is to send more people as time goes on so the first colonist can be looking forward to some company in 2-3 years. That said, if there is sufficient money to send more than one person on the first trip that would be preferred.

  289. The mission is not in anyway a suicide mission. The plan would be for more people to come and:
    A) replace the 1st person or
    B) join them
    I wonder why NASA hasnt thought about this?

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