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The first astronauts sent to Mars should be prepared to spend the rest of their lives there, in the same way that European pioneers headed to America knowing they wouldn't return home, says moonwalker Buzz Aldrin.
In an interview with reporters, the second man to set foot on the Moon said the Red Planet offered far greater potential than Earth's satellite as a place for habitation.
With what appears to be vast reserves of frozen water, Mars "is nearer terrestrial conditions, much better than the Moon and any other place," Aldrin, 78, said in a visit to Paris last week. "It is easier to subsist, to provide the support needed for people there than on the Moon."
It took Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins eight days to go to the Moon – 380,000 km from Earth – and return in July 1969, aboard Apollo 11.
Going to Mars, though, is a different prospect. The distance between the Red Planet and Earth varies between 55 million km and more than 400 million km. Even at the most favourable planetary conjunction, this means a round trip to Mars would take around a year and a half.
"That's why you [should] send people there permanently," said Aldrin. "If we are not willing to do that, then I don't think we should just go once and have the expense of doing that and then stop."
He asked: "If we are going to put a few people down there and ensure their appropriate safety, would you then go through all that trouble and then bring them back immediately, after a year, a year and a half?"
- How can the crew make decisions so that everyone gets a say but the group remains cohesive?
- How can we keep the crew functioning as a tightly knit group (without them working themselves into the ground)?
- How can we prevent sub-group conflicts form forming and what can we do about them if they do form?
- Who will lead the crew? Should there be one leader or even no specified leader?
So far, we've confirmed that a good predictor of group functioning is the degree to which people identify with the group they are in (that is, the degree to which they see the group as part of who they are). People who see the group like this are more motivated to do well and are also more likely to see the group's decisions and plans as fair and legitimate. However, they are also more stressed and this may have a negative effect on their mental functioning as well as their capacity to do their work. We have also found that key to a group's success is making sure that all members share a clear understanding of what the group is there to do and of what their role in the group is. If this doesn't happen, there is a serious risk that crew members will start to reject the group and become socially isolated. On Mars, this could be fatal.
Originally posted by LogicalExplanation
Yeah, he is suffering from early onset dementia alright.
Now Buzz, as Starcraft Enterprises - the name of his private space endeavors - is lecturing and traveling throughout the world to pursue and discuss his and others' latest concepts and ideas for exploring the universe. He is a leading voice in charting the course of future space efforts from Planet Earth.
Building the First Permanent Base
Early base construction on Mars will likely utilize building materials that are readily available on Mars. Bruce Mackenzie, co-founder of the Mars Homestead Project, has suggested that the first building material on Mars will be brick, which will be easy to make from the Martian soils.
Bruce MacKenzie has also suggested that the best brick structure to build will be a barrel-vault, vaults such as these have lasted for over 2,000 years on Earth. By building a "square" of lines of vaulted chambers the early explorers on Mars will be able to excavate the central square, dome it over and pressurize it, to give a large enclosed park area for the base. This style of base was used in the novel "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson.
The dome might be made of a Magnesium alloy, Magnesium is available in Martian soils at 25 kilograms per cubic meter. The dome will used a double-pane glass structure to help shield out the intense UV radiation and to hold the internal atmosphere. This entire base, except for the dome, will need to be buried under 2 1/2 meters of soil to provide enough weight to counter the internal pressurization and keep the brick structure in compression. This soil will also provide a good radiation shield.
if we send human beings to Mars, there should be no coming back for them:
The difference between establishing a temporary base
as opposed to a permanent colony is huge.
there might not be many people willing to stay forever.
"We don't just want to drop them down on Mars with only enough supplies to survive," said Homnick. "We want them to be able to have a good life."
A good life, according to the Mars Homestead Project, means having sufficient space for colonists to tend to gardens, seek out peace and quiet in libraries and greenhouses, and tinker with their all-terrain vehicles inside their own garages.
Still, even inside Mars' permanent brick homes, which will have all of the amenities of their Terran counterparts, the presence of airlocks and a menacing environment outside makes cabin fever seem almost inevitable for many colonists.
"That's why," said Mars Homestead Project co-founder Homnick, "we have added a psychiatrist to the project team, to evaluate those issues."
A close-knit family, ala lost in space
The whole concept of getting them back to earth eventually isn't
that challenging if you can get them there in the first place.
Originally posted by LordBucket
Except that if they end up spending a few years on mars, it's very likely that their bodies will climatize to the lower gravity. Mars gravity is .38 that of earth. The bone and muscle loss from a few years of that might complicate returning to earth. It would be like somebody who weighs 150 pounds on earth suddenly weighing almost 400 pounds. It would not be easy.
The primary focus of past and current research in Closed Environmental Life Support has assumed zero gravity, under orbital condituons, and assume smaller populations than we are considering. While not intirely irrelevant, I suspect that in most cases the most appropriate Martian solutin is one based upon a modification of an Earth gravity field system.