One-way missions could lift world’s morale

With the recent flood of wars, economic collapses, and political gridlock, does the twenty-first century need its own “small step for man” to prevent its own great depression?

Political squandering and natural disasters have filled the media, refusing to leave room for any inspiration.

One former NASA scientist, Jim McLane, may have formed an idea that could boost the world’s morale – a one-way, solo mission to Mars.

While many have reacted negatively to his idea, McLane told the Universe Daily that the only way to Mars is with the goal of a short time frame, and a “get it done” attitude.

The largest hurdle with a two-way-ticket in terms of money and technology is the issue of launching off mars, McLane said. Additionally, with no return trip and only one person on board, the size could be smaller and the amount of supplies would be less costly and complicated.

Plus, nothing screams “get it done” like a solo volunteer flying roughly 36 million to 250 million miles away to a planet without oxygen, with no option of turning back.

The proposal, titled “the Spirit of the Lone Star,” was named after pilot Charles Lindbergh and his 1927 solo flight from New York to Paris.

“Lindbergh was someone who was willing to risk everything because it was worth it,” McLane said. “I don’t think it will be hard to find another Lindbergh to go to Mars. That will be the easiest part of this whole program.”

Furthermore, the lone astronaut would have constant communication with Earth.

Though he is the only one widely known to propose a solo trip, there are many others now considering the idea of a trip with no return plan.

The Journal of Cosmology featured an article in 2008 which also suggested a one way trip to the red planet.

Paul Davies, a professor at Arizona State University, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a professor at Washington State University, proposed that the mission have several astronauts, with the overall intention being permanent colonization.

The process of colonization would not be an easy feat.

Water exists only unpurified and beneath Mars’ surface, and oxygen can only be gathered from the water.

Davies told the State Press that the life expectancy on Mars might only be 10 years because of space radiation and the general troubles that come with life on a new planet.

For that reason, Davies said the project would look for astronauts around 60-years-old, though still in excellent shape.

Both theories propose that before the astronaut(s) left, unmanned landers would first take the necessary supplies to the planet, such as living accommodations, food, solar panels, and communication equipment.

The ideas also share similarity in the possibility of sending additional astronauts after a colony has been established.

As for money, the trip would still cost nearly $50 billion with the professors’ theory. According to Schulze-Makuch, however, that’s an 80 percent reduction of cost compared to round trip.

President Barack Obama announced that he too wants NASA to think beyond the moon toward Mars.

His speech, delivered in April 2010, announced the restructuring of NASA’s financial program and future plans.

The president said he hopes to see a U.S. astronaut on Mars by the mid 2030’s, rather than NASA’s former goal of a seventh trip to the moon in 2020.

In contrast to President Obama’s patriotic goal, McLane said he thinks the mission would be a global effort.

“The whole world would get behind it,” he said. “We’re all humans, and the idea of sending one of our kind on a trip like that would be a wonderful adventure for the entire world.”

As of late October 2010, NASA has announced that it is now looking at the idea of a one-way trip to Mars, with the objective of an eventual self-sufficient colony.

Though technical issues persist in planning a manned Mars landing, and a feat so great will take years to accomplish, at least some true ambition is being shown.

Compared with droning politics and war technology, the innovative proposal casts a hopeful light toward an exciting future achievement.