By Cassi Kirkland
It seems as though the Earth is plagued with new problems daily. We face global climate change, species extinction, and a host of social issues. Government funding for NASA has considerably decreased; so private non-for-profits are taking matters into their own hands.
Inspiration Mars is a nonprofit organization with the goal of sending a two-person American crew to fly within 100 miles around Mars and return to Earth. The target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018, only about four years away. Many see a mission to Mars as entry to a new era of space exploration, and this mission will provide important information to help make a manned mission to Mars a reality. The mission is simple: it uses the gravitational influence of Mars to navigate the astronauts back on course to Earth, and requires no landing maneuvers or entries into the atmosphere.
Perhaps more exciting is the idea of a permanent settlement on Mars. This is the goal of Mars One, a not-for-profit organization. They aim to launch crews of four every two years, starting in 2024. Already, hundreds of thousands have applied for this one way ticket to Mars, where they will volunteer to spend the rest of their lives. This is separate from NASA, who has goals for a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s.
There are many interesting questions we can ask about such a precarious plan. How will people plan for the high levels of radiation and nonexistent atmosphere on Mars? These people are volunteering to be test subjects on a grand scale, going to a place where almost nothing is known about how the human body will adapt to such drastic changes. We are constantly discovering new health issues from astronauts on the International Space Station, so the transition to full-time life on an entirely new planet is even riskier.
Who are these people applying for a one way ticket to Mars? Do they simply love the adventure into the unknown, or are they trying to escape a bad situation on Earth? Better yet, how will the first crew of four be psychologically affected by a two-year stint on Mars? It seems like they would have to create an entirely new government and social system, just to endure the isolation of a year-long mission and a year-long settlement of only four people.
(Image Link: http://www.mars-one.com)
WELCOME, UMICH SCIENTISTAS!
SORT BY TAG
The Network for Pre-Professional Women in Science and Engineering
The Scientista Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) -- Donate!