WSU Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch Proposes One-Way Trips to Mars

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Dirk Schulze-Makuch thinks getting astronauts to Mars is no big deal if people would stop spending so much time and money trying to bring them home, and just leave them there instead. The Washington State University researcher proposes as much in a new paper in the Journal of Cosmology titled "To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars."

Schulze-Makuch and co-author Paul Davies of Arizona State University are of a similar mind as Stephen Hawking when it comes to space travel, in that it's crucial because humans are eventually only going to ruin this planet. Getting a jump on the whole colonization effort, he says, is going to take some creative thinking and some sacrifices--mainly, the lives of astronauts who can go set up a base camp on Mars before the rest of us come calling.

It's also going to take an "eccentric billionaire" to fund the project.

Schulze-Makuch points out that the planet has a lot of the basics for supporting life, like gravity, minerals, water and atmosphere.

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Schulze-Makuch has even mapped out some potential sites for colonization.
Getting the spacemen to Mars would be doable using a lot of the same technology used in the Apollo moon programs, Schulze-Makuch argues. Once they're there, they'd take on roles like those of our Western pioneer ancestors.

"The astronauts would be re-supplied on a periodic basis from Earth with basic necessities, but otherwise would be expected to become increasingly proficient at harvesting and utilizing resources available on Mars. Eventually the outpost would reach self-sufficiency, and then it could serve as a hub for a greatly expanded colonization program."

Schulze-Makuch acknowledges that the idea is unlikely to gain traction any time soon. Americans, as big of fans as they are of sending heroic astronauts into space, are even bigger fans of bringing them home to much fanfare.

Perhaps if there was a way to send lofty-minded scientists to Mars instead ...

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