One-Way Mars Missions?

[caption id="attachment_27225" align="alignleft" width="319" caption="Photo: NASA"]Phot: NASA[/caption]

Going to Mars is costly.  The conventional thinking of round-trip missions is losing more and more ground to an idea made public last year.  Theoretical physicist/cosmologist Paul Davies addressed the NASA Astrobiology Science Conference, and laid out a solid (and sometimes humorous) case for the One Way Ticket plan.

He points out the commercial angle, saying that not only would a patent trade emerge from discoveries, but televised coverage of the pioneers would be lucrative as well.  And those pioneers?  He says our planet is full of risk-takers seeking adventure that would fill the role nicely.
By comparison, a one-way trip to Mars would not be so risky. But it does need a spirit of adventure of the sort that the early explorers had, in particular the people who opened up Antarctica. These people often went knowing that there was a high probability that they would not come back, and that if they didn’t come back, they were going to their deaths. I’m not suggesting that going to Mars necessarily means an instant death, but it may mean a premature death, it may mean your life expectancy is shortened by a little bit. But as I said, people attempt that risk in all sorts of other walks of life.

And what I have in mind is not just four miserable people sitting around on the martian surface waiting to die, (laughter) but that they would actually be doing useful job work.

You wouldn’t be going there as tourists, you wouldn’t be going there for fun. You’d be going there to do science, and emailing all this stuff back. Your publication record would be sensational. (laughter) You would no doubt have all sort of honors heaped on you.

But you wouldn’t be coming home.

Link.   Previously on Neatorama: Chart of Missions to Mars

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@pwscott:
I'll put aside my opinions on the morality of your suggestion for a moment and concentrate on logistics.

This would conflict with the general idea that once they arrive, the people/explorers/colonists should do useful work- and by that, they mean useful both to themselves and to those of us back on Earth. For that we need scientists, doctors, engineers, and other highly skilled people who are motivated to work hard for little tangible reward.
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I would not be volunteering, but it sounds like a great idea. It's pretty much the same deal offered to colonists, pioneers, and explorers throughout history. If you actually survived the ocean voyage or the harsh terrain, you and your entire expedition could die in hundreds of ways once you arrived. One thing holding back manned space exploration is NASA's extreme aversion to risk and death. When people do dangerous things and go to dangerous places, some of them are going to die and others aren't going to be coming back home. Let's acknowledge that fact and get on with it.
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Read the Heechee Saga by Frederik Pohl.. Basically details this scenario... Send them to mars, and give them a percentage of the profits incurred by their discoveries... Even if you die, your family may be set for life... course you could die, and get nothing, but risk takers abound!
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