Send 60-year-old astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars: Scientists

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LONDON - Colonization of Mars would be faster and cheaper if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America - not expecting to go home, according to two scientists.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor, and Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State University, argue that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a precaution against a catastrophe on Earth.

“The main point is to get Mars exploration moving. You would send a little bit older folks, around 60 or something like that,” the Daily Mail quoted Schulze-Makuch as saying.

The is because the mission would undoubtedly reduce a person’s lifespan, from a lack of medical care and exposure to radiation. Radiation could also damage reproductive organs, so sending people of childbearing age is not a good idea.

The two scientists propose the missions begin with two two-person teams of astronauts in their 60s who would fly in separate ships that would then serve as living quarters on the planet.

The settlers would be sent supplies from Earth, but would go on the understanding that it would be too costly to make the return trip.

However, the suggestion received the criticism from some people.

Astronaut, Ed Mitchell of Apollo 14 said, “This is premature. We aren’t ready for this yet.”

Despite the lack of enthusiasm from NASA, Schulze-Makuch believes many people would be willing to make the sacrifice.

“We are on a vulnerable planet. Asteroid impact can threaten us, or a supernova explosion. If we want to survive as a species, we have to expand into the solar system and likely beyond,” Schulze-Makuch concluded. (ANI)

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