To Boldly Go — And Not Come Back?

To Boldly Go — And Not Come Back?

One option for human exploration of Mars that gets little attention or discussion is whether these new explorers should plan on a one-way trip. Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University and author of “The Physics of Star Trek” advocates this approach in an op-ed for the August 31, 2009 New York Times. Here are some of his points:

” While the idea of sending astronauts aloft never to return is jarring upon first hearing, the rationale for one-way trips into space has both historical and practical roots. Colonists and pilgrims seldom set off for the New World with the expectation of a return trip, usually because the places they were leaving were pretty intolerable anyway. Give us a century or two and we may turn the whole planet into a place from which many people might be happy to depart.”


“Moreover, if the [cosmic] radiation problems cannot be adequately resolved then the longevity of astronauts signing up for a Mars round trip would be severely compromised in any case. As cruel as it may sound, the astronauts would probably best use their remaining time living and working on Mars rather than dying at home. “

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