Would you go on a mission to Mars? What about if it was a one-way mission? And you were by yourself? Yeah, that changes things a bit. Well, that's exactly what former NASA engineer Jim McClane suggests, saying that it's worth considering and removes many of the hurdles keeping us from the Red Planet now.
Dubbed "Spirit of the Lone Eagle," his plan would eliminate the hardest aspect of any potential Mars mission: the need to launch off of Mars to return to Earth.
"When we eliminate the need to launch off Mars, we remove the mission's most daunting obstacle," said McLane. And because of a small crew size, the spacecraft could be smaller and the need for consumables and supplies would be decreased, making the mission cheaper and less complicated.
While some might classify this as a suicide mission, McLane feels the concept is completely logical.
"There would be tremendous risk, yes," said McLane, "but I don't think that's guaranteed any more than you would say climbing a mountain alone is a suicide mission. People do dangerous things all the time, and this would be something really unique, to go to Mars. I don't think there would be any shortage of people willing to volunteer for the mission. Lindbergh was someone who was willing to risk everything because it was worth it. 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."
So, what do you say, wannabe space travelers? Would you ride in a tiny spaceship to Mars by yourself to be known as the first human ever to travel to, and then die on, Mars? [Universe Today via Danger Room]