[ExI] Humans on Mars

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Aug 24 12:20:43 UTC 2017

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of BillK
Subject: [ExI] Humans on Mars

>...There are plans under discussion to send humans to Mars, with many
technical problems to be solved. A round trip will take many years and one
suggestion is that settlers on Mars would stay there and never return to

>...How do these travellers get paid if they never return to Earth?

>...Money and status are the usual rewards for humans. But these travellers
are not returning to Earth. If deep space travel requires volunteers
prepared to work for nothing, going on what could be thought of as almost
suicide missions, then you are going to get some very unusual (strange?)
people applying.


Hi BillK, ja to all.

Regarding your description "one suggestion" for the notion of one-way to
Mars, it is analogous to saying F = ma is one suggestion.  

I worked those weights numbers a hundred different ways with every
assumption I could think of, and every time there was no technologically
feasible means of getting to the surface of Mars with enough mass to get
back out of that gravity well, including Robert Zubrin's imaginative notions
of making fuel on the surface from indigenous materials.

Even the recognition that any Mars trip is one-way is a bit of an
understatement.  It is also a one-person trip.  We are still not there: that
one person needs to be really small and light.  Physical law is in the
driver's seat for this kind of thing.

To your contention that we will get very unusual strange people applying:
sure.  Normal people need not apply: they wouldn't suffice for such a

However, a one-way to Mars mission enables a lot of people who would be
otherwise not a compelling candidate, such as the severely differently-abled
for instance.  

On the moon missions, they needed to do all those psychological evaluations
to verify they had guys who would not kill each other.  That doesn't apply:
we could use psychopaths.  There is no one else to kill.  

We don't need those chiseled-from-stone athletic-looking young fighter
jockey heroes: just small and light.  

We don't really need engineers: any modern Mars-craft would be analogous to
modern cars: shade-tree mechanics can't fix them anyway.  Repairs would need
to be done by radio signal from Earth.

We don't really need scientists: the science would be done by instruments.

We would need someone willing to surgically disable some of their
bio-systems, such as the sense of smell: she doesn't need that anymore and
it can only cause discomfort for the rest of her short life.  The sense of
taste wouldn't be good for much either really from there on out.

They don't really need to be young, but if anyone is willing to pay the
price, youth has both advantages and disadvantages.

My conclusions years ago haven't changed much: strange unusual people would
apply, we would get plenty of them, a briefing session with the candidates
would be weirder than an ExI-schmooze, aaaaannnd... we really aren't there
yet.  The whole notion requires robotic preliminary missions to build a
human habitat, several of them.


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