- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt ‘Boss Hogg’ town from map
- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
An eternal mission to Mars
Scientists envision true space cowboys
PULLMAN, Wash. | It’s always cheaper to fly one way, even to Mars. Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the Red Planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behave like the first settlers to come to North America - not expecting to go home.
“The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea.
A moonwalking astronaut was not impressed.
“This is premature,” Ed Mitchell of Apollo 14 wrote in an e-mail. “We aren’t ready for this yet.”
The article titled “To Boldly Go” appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Cosmology, which features more than 50 articles and essays on Mars exploration.
Mr. Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State University, said humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth. They think the one-way trips could start in two decades.
“You would send a little bit older folks, around 60 or something like that,” Mr. Schulze-Makuch said, bringing to mind the aging heroes who saved the day in the movie “Space Cowboys.”
That’s because the mission undoubtedly would reduce a person’s life span, from a lack of medical care and exposure to radiation. Radiation also could damage reproductive organs, so sending people of childbearing age is not a good idea, Mr. Schulze-Makuch said.
Mars, a six-month flight away, possesses surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. The two scientists propose the missions begin with two two-member teams, in separate ships that would serve as living quarters on the planet. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow.
The technology exists or is within easy reach, they wrote. By not taking the extra fuel and provisions necessary for a return trip to Earth, the mission could cut costs by 80 percent.
“The astronauts would go to Mars with the intention of staying for the rest of their lives, as trailblazers of a permanent human Mars colony,” they wrote.
They acknowledge that the proposal is a tough sell for NASA, with its focus on safety, and suggest the private sector might be more fertile ground.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again