The Big Question: One Way Trip to Mars

Posted: February 7, 2011 in The Big Question
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Welcome to a new recurring feature, The Big Question. In these posts, I will pose a hypothetical question to you, dear readers, and look forward to your thoughts and opinions. The questions will focus primarily on ethical or social implications of scientific and technological progress, and there are no right or wrong answers, just an open exchange of opinions and viewpoints. 

Let’s get started with this month’s Big Question:

One of the biggest technological challenges for a manned mission to Mars is transporting the food, water, air, vehicles and fuel needed for the return trip home.  A one-way mission would be significantly easier to undertake, and could put humans on Mars decades ahead of their round-trip counterparts.

Would you volunteer to be the first human to set foot on Mars knowing that you would die there within months of your arrival?  If not, are there any conditions under which you would volunteer for a one-way mission?  Assuming legitimate volunteers came forward, should we as a society even consider such a mission?

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Comments
  1. Morgan B says:

    My first reaction to this was “NO”. but then thinking about it and being a Cancer survivor, I thought If I knew I was in the last stages of my life and by doing this I could advance knowledge significantly then I would look seriously at saying Yes!
    I don’t have to worry about it because I passed all my Sience knowledge and skills on to the next generation so I probably would not have a chance on going.
    Dad

    • Good point about changing your answer depending on the circumstances of your life. Even while writing the question, I was thinking about my own answer, and how it might have been different at various points in my life.

      Today, it’s a definite “no”, but it might have been “yes” in the past. Sometimes to be a part of such a huge and significant event, sometimes just to get away from what was happening here on Earth!

  2. Purple Pinstripe says:

    Not a prayer! You both know I can barely sit in the car long enough to get from my house to yours! Now way I’ll make it to Mars. Captain Kirk will boot my complaining arse out of the ship before we pass the Moon! You know it’s the truth! Stop laughing

    • Purple Pinstripe says:

      …….. Are we there yet???…………..

      ………………………….. I’m bored…………………..

      ……………………………….. “Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones” ……….

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