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Over 400 People Volunteer To Make One-Way Trip To Mars

Los Angeles, Feb 15 : Over 400 people have so far volunteered to make the one-way trip to the Red Planet, reports National Geographic in its blog by Victoria Jaggard.The  report says, more than 400
PTI February 15, 2011 11:09 IST
PTI
Los Angeles, Feb 15 : Over 400 people have so far volunteered to make the one-way trip to the Red Planet, reports National Geographic in its blog by Victoria Jaggard.
The  report says, more than 400 people have contacted the editors of the Journal of Cosmology and have volunteered to make the one-way trip.

"I do VERY well with solitude," wrote 69-year-old computer programmer Pasha Rostov, according to FoxNews.com."I am handy with tools, very good at making things work, ... and am quite sane and stable."Other volunteers included a college student, a nurse, a mechanic, and a Methodist pastor.

"I have the feeling that spiritual issues would come up among the crew. The early explorers on Earth always took clergy with them," Reverend Paul Gregersen told FoxNews.com.The unexpected response raises an interesting question: If a private group ever did manage to launch a mission to start a Mars base, who would go?

The Journal of Cosmology is a peer-reviewed, free, open-access, online publication that gets roughly 50,000 readers a month.The editorial board includes names from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, NASA, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Caltech, and the University of Oxford—not a bad lineup.

In its issue October-November 2010, there are 55 papers under the umbrella title "The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet".

In all, the authors discuss every facet of a potential Mars colony, including energy requirements, lander and settlement designs, psychological stresses, robotic helpers—even the risks involved with babies being conceived during the nine-month trip to the red planet.To quote from the paper: "Humans are notorious for inventing ways of having sex despite all manner of logistical impediments."

One take-away message from this suite of studies is that many scientists think a privately funded, one-way mission to colonize Mars would be possible within the next 20 years.Would the kinds of people who could make a Martian colony work be the kinds of people who would want to volunteer? And who decides what the right kinds of people are?

NASA, for example, has some pretty stringent requirements for what it  takes to be an astronaut. It ranges from educational and professional background to physical and emotional endurance.

Some might make the argument that no one was vetted before setting of for the New World in the 1600s.  England exiled thousands of convicts to the colonies before the revolution, says the blog.

Colonists arriving in America could be assured of some basic needs: water, air, soil for growing crops and raising livestock, raw materials for building settlements.
Mars colonists would have none of that to depend on, so they would need a very different set of skills and tools to survive.

In addition, that very first one-way trip to Mars would carry a certain prestige. You *know* you'd be famous, even if you died the minute after you set foot on red regolith.

In a nongovernmental mission, whoever is footing the bill would get to make the final call, so that would affect the backgrounds of the first Mars colonists, too, writes the blogger.