Oct
23
2008

Moonwalker demands imprisonment of astronauts on Mars

2 planets and a moon: We keep candy and waterslides on the one on the left, flags on the one in the bottom right, and astronauts on the one in the top right. Simple.
2 planets and a moon: We keep candy and waterslides on the one on the left, flags on the one in the bottom right, and astronauts on the one in the top right. Simple.Courtesy Bluedharma
Way-hey-haaaiit one second there! Why did I write that headline? That seems a little incendiary for a reasonable proposal from a national hero, JGordon. We had better think things out a little more before we write them down.

So, Buzz Aldrin is in the news. The science news, anyway. The 78-year-old former astronaut—the second man to set foot on the moon—is suggesting that the first manned mission to Mars should leave its astronauts on the planet for good. With all of the expense and effort that a Mars mission would take, he believes that even spending a year or a year and a half on the red planet wouldn’t be worth it. The astronauts, he says, should go with the intention of staying for the rest of their lives, like pioneers.

Eventually the first men and women on Mars could be joined by others, forming a colony of perhaps 30 scientists. After a few decades, when they reach 65 or so, they could retire on Mars, or perhaps get picked up by a ship and returned to earth.

What about that, Buzzketeers? Think about spending the rest of your life on Mars, with just a few people to keep you company (except for, you know, radio communication). Kind of a crazy idea, but kind of awesome, I think. Think about what that’d be like—the isolation, low gravity, greater exposure to cosmic rays (that’s bad)… but a whole new planet!

Would any of you guys be willing to go to Mars, if it meant you’d be leaving the earth forever?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Ellen Anthony's picture

Aldrin is right in everything except how many people should go and how fast. People who adapt to Martian gravity will find it hard to return to Earth anyway so the first wave should be scientists and engineers who are innovative in their response to emergencies. That should be followed by the first wave of families and more able-bodied men and women. The overall colony should be 5,000, not 30, since they will have to be able to take care of their medical needs, raising food, manufacturing, and everything that a small town needs that is far from civilization.

We should begin by building this colony here on Earth. The technology needs to be established and tested and the bugs worked out before we send it to Mars. Best place to build it is under the ocean so there is an acceptable level of risk for the colonists and the designers. Send it to Mars when we have the ships, but start building it and testing it now.

posted on Fri, 10/24/2008 - 9:06am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

That's an interesting idea.

I don't know too much about the logistics of space colonization, but I'd think that a city of 5000 on Mars would be much much much harder and more costly to establish that a station of 30. I'm guessing that Aldrin has in mind something more along the lines of a research colony (staffed in the most efficient way possible), not something meant to establish a permanent population on the planet.

I suppose it's apples and oranges, but think about the research stations on Antarctica. McMurdo is the largest of them, with a summer population of over a thousand, and it needs to be resupplied all the time, and people come and go from season to season so they don't get, you know, crazy.

posted on Fri, 10/24/2008 - 9:50am
pouya's picture
pouya says:

hello my dear friend.Im pouya 16 from IRAN.I heard about colonizing the solar system race sponsered by NASA at school a few days ago.and Im delighted to find some friends to join this project in 2010... . Be cause of limited Information about this subject I cannot access needed information here and want to ask you to connect me and introuduce me websites/weblogs, Information about the colony.so if you help my Im gana thank you so much

posted on Sat, 11/22/2008 - 3:00pm
mechwart's picture
mechwart says:

if you want offsprings then you would need minimum 250 people to have a good genetic mix

posted on Tue, 11/25/2008 - 4:53pm
bryan kennedy's picture

I love this idea. I really wonder what the psych evaluations would look like for this group. I mean they'd have to be adventurous enough to want to go, but not so flyboy they take too many risks. They'd have to be OK with a large degree of isolation, but not such loners that they couldn't live with the same group of people for another few decades.

I wonder if they locked several trial groups together on Earth for a few years before the flight. The group that "scores" the best would be the ones picked to go. That way you could evaluate an entire group's dynamics as well as the individual.

posted on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 5:21pm

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