The article titled “To Boldly Go,” by Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University and Paul Davies of Arizona State University in the Journal of Cosmology, has provoked a reaction in the space exploration and travel communities. In an attempt to jump start manned Mars exploration and travel; they are proposing an idea that is radically different from the prevailing thought process in NASA and other space agencies. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity and creative in solving the three most daunting problems inherent in manned interstellar space travel, distance, time and cost.
What the two scientists are proposing is a one way manned mission to Mars, with the goal of establishing a permanent base that will eventually lead to the colonizing of the red planet. How radical is this, currently all the plans in place for a manned mission to Mars are based on the blue print of the Apollo missions of the 60’s and 70’s, when man walked on the moon and came back to earth. Bringing the astronauts or cosmonauts back home alive has always been explicit in all human space endeavors so far. The Apollo missions were inspirational and confirm that as humans we can build the technology for space travel however 40 years on the dream of human interplanetary travel is unfulfilled.
This suggests we need a change in the model to solve the current inertia; we cannot afford to wait for technology to catch up to our human spirit to explore. The current thinkers and planners are relying too heavily on technology as the solution to all of the problems of interplanetary travel and it appears we have too many decision makers who see themselves more as scientist and administrators instead of as explorers. Researching mars travel, it is a widely acknowledge fact that the technology exists or is within easy reach for a manned mission to Mars with a travel time of at least six months. So what are we waiting for? It was Christopher Columbus who made the journey and not the ship builder and the seafaring ancients set out on journeys long before the sextant was invented
In calling for the one way manned mission to Mars, Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies are not only asserting the practicality of this plan when compared to what NASA currently has but they are also summoning that aged old human spirit for exploration .In their own words “human exploratory spirit compel us to explore space and colonize other planets.” The Obama administration is on record in making a commitment to manned mission to Mars by 2030.Currently this project is not going anywhere fast, the concept for a one way manned Mars mission has the potential to be without doubt a monumental breakthrough in the history of space travel, it represents both the ingenuity of the human mind and our best bet of becoming a space faring civilization, if we dare “To Boldly Go,”.