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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Bankrupt One-Way Ticket to Mars

The mission is to boldly go where no man has gone before – on a flight to Mars.
The snag is that you’d never come back.

The U.S. space agency Nasa is actively investigating the possibility of humans colonising other worlds such as the Red Planet in an ambitious project named the Hundred Years Starship.

The settlers would be sent supplies from Earth, but would go on the understanding that it would be too costly to make the return trip.

NASA Ames Director Pete Worden revealed that one of NASA’s main research centres, Ames Research Centre, has received £1million funding to start work on the project.

The research team has also received an additional $100,000 from Nasa.


‘You heard it here,” Worden said at ‘Long Conversation,’ an event in San Francisco. ‘We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund.’

He added: ‘The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds. Twenty years ago you had to whisper that in dark bars and get fired.’

Worden said he has discussed the potential price tag for one-way trips to Mars with Google co-founder Larry Page, telling him such a mission could be done for $10 billion.


He said said: ‘His response was, “Can you get it down to $1 [billion] or $2billion?” So now we're starting to get a little argument over the price.’

Depending on the position of Mars in its orbit around the sun, its distance from Earth varies between 34million and 250million miles.


The most recent unmanned mission there was Nasa’s Phoenix lander, which launched in August 2007 and landed on the planet’s north polar cap in May the following year.

Experts say a nuclear-fueled rocket could shorten the journey to about four months.

Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars is the most likely to have substantial quantities of water, making it the best bet for sustaining life. But it is a forbidding place to set up home.

Temperatures plummet way below freezing in some parts. The thin atmosphere would be a problem as it is mostly carbon dioxide, so oxygen supplies are a must.


Worden also suggested that new technologies such as synthetic biology and alterations to the human genome could also be explored ahead of the mission.

And he said that he believed the mission should visit Mars’ moons first, where scientists can do extensive telerobotics exploration of the planet. He claims that humans could be on Mars' moons by 2030.

News of the Hundred Years Starship comes as new research found that a one-way human mission to Mars is technologically feasible and would be a cheaper option than bringing astronauts back.

Writing in the Journal of Cosmology, scientists Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies, say that the envision sending four volunteer astronauts on the first mission to permanently colonise Mars.

They write: ‘A one-way human mission to Mars would not be a fixed duration project as in the Apollo program, but the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet.’

The astronauts would be sent supplies from Earth on a regular basis but they would be expected to become self-sufficient on the red planet’s surface as soon as possible.

They say: There are many reasons why a human colony on Mars is a desirable goal, scientifically and politically. The strategy of one-way missions brings this goal within technological and financial feasibility.

‘Nevertheless, to attain it would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.’

They admit that the mission would come with ‘ethical considerations’ with the general public feeling that the Martian pioneers had been abandoned to their fate or sacrificed.

But they argue that these first inhabitants of Mars would be going in much the same spirit as the first white settlers of North America – travelling to a distant land, knowing that they will never return home.

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They say: ‘Explorers such as Columbus, Frobisher, Scott and Amundsen, while not embarking on their voyages with the intention of staying at their destination, nevertheless took huge personal risks to explore new lands, in the knowledge that there was a significant likelihood that they would perish in the attempt.’

By Niall Firth of http://www.dailymail.co.uk

I think it's  great that NASA is finally doing some exploration after all these years. I think we need to do as much as we can to explore the universe around us before the human species cease to exist. So uhh who's willing to die or struggle to survive for the rest of their life in the name of science? Any takers?

73 comments:

  1. This is definitley the direction we need to be heading.

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  2. For the good of the mission, I will go.

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  3. I'm not to thrilled about the whole one way trip thing.....Yea' they'll be sent supplies, but do they really want to send people to their possible deaths?

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  4. there will be The Darkness there?xD

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  5. Sounds amazing and scary at the same time. I hope to live long enough to see stuff like this being considered normal.

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  6. cool post man...very interesanting

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  7. It's nice to see NASA getting back into things

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  8. Finally, all my wet sci-fi-fanboy dreams come true!

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  9. That's awesome, i'm glad they're actually starting to think of actually going ahead with things like this.
    I'd do the one way trip if I was given the opportunity.

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  10. This is an awesome initiative. I'd love to go to Mars. I heard they got chicks with three tits there.

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  11. I will definitely be one of the settlers :D

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  12. I would do this, definitely. Give up a life of humdrum monotony to venture out and be among the first people on Mars? Sign me up.

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  13. I wonder how long the flight would be. I hate flying.

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  14. wow this is so cool. but im kinnda scared of space!

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  15. It would be awesome if by landing there we could find another civilization!!! LET THE WAR OF THE WORLDS BEGIN!

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  16. I don't think that I would want to go

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  17. This was one hell of an interesting read. I'll be honest, though -- if we ever started to go to Mars, I wouldn't want to take the journey until it were more like a plane ride than a huge, dangerous adventure.

    I like Earth. lol.

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  18. I would go, but this is purely science fiction at this point. I loooove that it is even being considered though.

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  19. Waste of money... Seriously guys? get it together.

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  20. Was reading up on this earlier in the week. I would love to be the first to colonize Mars just to be put in history. Seems scary though.

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  21. I wonder... if humans really do populate Mars, will we have Earth vs Mars wars, like Usa vs Europe ones right now?

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  22. Sounds ambitious, I don't see it in the next 20 years though

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  23. man that would be awesome! you would have so much land.... I would be happy as long as they sent up an ATV, dirtbike, and jeep up with me.

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  24. I don't think I'd ever be up for that

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  25. thats such a big goal, it will be interesting to see the future

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  26. I'd sign up in a second, no questions asked.

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  27. We made a blog post about this!

    I wish we'd hurry up and get to the future already.

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  28. Argh! Just send me to Mars. I would be totally happy living there myself as long as they gave me a computer and lots of ebooks. Also, Im superb at research, so I could find out lots of crap those rovers failed at.

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  29. I volunteer myself as a guinea pig for this trip. Words can't describe how awesome it could be.

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  30. sounds daring man, great post

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  31. I feel like we are going to find some lost civilization on mars... might be just my imagination.

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  32. Oh my god if I was offered to do this I would say yes in a heartbeat. I might have to be able to bring a friend though. I NEED SOMEONE TO HOLD ON THOSE LONELY MARS NIGHTS

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  33. I think it would be amazing to step foot on another planet, let alone survive on it. Where do I sign up? ;)

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  34. we are already pre-destined dead, born in our graves, so why not experience something different. . . . id prolly go

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  35. I'd also go, but with Gianna Michaels and Sunny lane at my side, lol.

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  36. its a beautiful thing that we can see such a thing in our years

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  37. lets go to the mars , but i am not sure that place is beatiful as pictures

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  38. Man is destroyin' Earth and thinks about to go away. Oh yea, that is the solution.

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  39. Sounds like bankruptcy is not that bad :)

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  40. I'M IN, THIS IS MY LIFELONG DREAM!!

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  41. that would be an amazing thing to see in our lifetime

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  42. I wouldn't mind expolring space if I got the chance. Its good nasa is doing more exploring, I feel like our science programs in america are failing. We need more resources to further our exsistence.

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  43. I don't think they would have any problems getting volunteers, and could fund future missions with the revenue they get from the reality TV show

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  44. This is exciting, I really hope it happens during our life times.

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