Okay so my thoughts on a Trip to the Moon or Mars… Remember these are just my thoughts – I can’t speak for anyone else!
Personally I think it would be wise for us to go back and learn to live on the moon before trying to go to Mars. Yes we’ve been to the Moon but it was really for a short time comparative to the amount of time we will be required to spend on Mars if we travel there.
Physiologically the biggest concern is radiation. Already have astronauts maxing out on the lifetime “allowable” radiation by safety standards just by a few stay on ISS and ISS is protected by the Van Allen radiation belts. We definitely have our work cut out for us in this arena if we want our Mars space travelers to remain healthy. So far I have yet to hear a plan from anyone who is talking about a trip to Mars detail anything that will adequately mitigate the radiation concern.
As far as the one-way ticket goes… I am quite certain there are lots of people who will willingly sign up for this. I do have to admit though – there is no way I will be one of them and for a wide variety of reasons. It’s not just because of the one-way factor, though admittedly it is part of it because let’s face it if that doesn’t come to play in you decision in some way I wonder how much you’ve really thought about it. The idea of training for 7 years for this mission is not something I would be willing to undertake in the way it’s being set-up. I have NO interest in being part of a reality show. However I know many people would love to be on a reality TV show so I suspect that won’t necessarily be a mitigating factor for many. Given that many people just want their 12 seconds of fame I actually think it’s smart for the company to be charging a fee to submit their application video.
Ken and I actually talked about the couple traveling to Mars trip and while that sounds like a great adventure I am not sure we’re quite ready to sign up for that one yet either 😉 It’s a very ambitious plan and I am just not sure the date they have listed is realistic given all the obstacles there are to figure out before travel to Mars is possible.
Bottom line though – I am excited to see various companies and lots of people excited about a trip to Mars (and the Moon) and I think it’s an absolutely FANTASTIC thing for people to be getting excited about it. Hopefully with the excitement will come to the will to figure out these engineering challenges of the trip and make it happen! It’s time for us to explore beyond low Earth Orbit!!