Buzz Aldrin's Advice to NASA
I was just paging through the current issue of Popular Mechanics, mainly because I was interested in the opinion piece by Buzz Aldrin, in which he
details his thoughts on how we should proceed if we want to land humans on Mars.
What really surprised me was what he had to say at the end of the piece, when he said that NASA should recruit astronauts who would be willing to
become permanent residents of Mars, because the whole trip would be much easier and cheaper if we didn't have to worry about bringing them back.
He envisions a new breed of pioneering colonists going to Mars and never, ever being able to come home. He just barely touches on the idea, almost as
if he wants to the reader to just take it as an afterthought, or something he kinda slipped in there in passing.
The ramifications of this are pretty huge, especially if the only justification is one of logistics and economics.
Think about it: Somebody volunteering for a one-way trip to Mars would have to either have no family ties that mattered to them, or they'd have to
take their families with them.
Permanent settlement on Mars, therefore, means an entire community, doing all the things people in communities do, such as marrying and making babies
and raising new generations. And a new generation of people born and bred on Mars, with its small fraction of Earth's gravity, would surely have a
very hard time of things if they ever tried to visit Earth, assuming that rockets traveling from Mars to Earth might some day become a part of the
So, what Aldrin's advocating is that we essentially create a new branch of humanity, who would branch off from Earth humans and possibly evolve in
genetic isolation from us? I suppose, of course, that there'd be nothing to preclude additional flights from Earth to occasionally keep the gene pool
diverse, but still...
This is such an extreme notion that I have to wonder what Aldrin isn't telling us. Earlier in the article, he mentions the asteroid that might hit
Earth in 2036, and what we might do about it. Like the one-way-ticket thing, he doesn't dwell on the subject, but I wonder if his real agenda for
planting in our minds the notion of folks going to Mars and not coming back might be less about exploration and more about survival.
Aldrin does assert that NASA would have to select a personality type of Mars colonists that would be different from their traditional astronaut
profile, and he specifically says they'd have to be "survivors." Could he be privy to inside dope regarding the likelihood of impending worldwide
calamity, and could he be looking at Mars as a back-up storage device for human life; the ultimate Noah's Ark?
[edit on 14-7-2009 by flightsuit]