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Buzz Aldrin: Mars pioneers should stay there

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posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 05:53 AM
Buzz Aldrin, the famous Apollo 11 astronaut and the second man to walk on the moon, says that if we send human beings to Mars, there should be no coming back for them:

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?"

Exploring Mars: If we're going to go to all the effort and expense of sending people to Mars, why bring them straight back again? says Buzz Aldrin. Credit: NASA/JPL

Personally, I know that I would never consider leaving the earth for good, or at until I am 65 years old and perhaps can retire, as Aldrin also suggests in the interview. I would not be able to say goodbye to everyone I love and care for, and not ever see them again (or at least not until I was getting old.) I honestly don't think there are many people at all here on earth who could handle this, but I may of course be wrong.

Another aspect is the other people you would be sent to Mars with. This article, "Psychology in Space - A Mission to Mars" is an interesting read, and deals with important questions:

- 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.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:10 AM
i think Buzz Aldrin has a pretty good point. We shouldn't send people to Mars and then bring them back so soon. However, I don't think they should stay forever either. They should stay for about 5-10 years. The reason is because there might not be many people willing to stay forever. But, if they can actually find some people who really are willing to live on Mars forever, then I guess that's good too!
And unlike the European pioneers, they'll be able to communicate with Earth somewhat regularly through technology.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by GrayFox]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:15 AM
I bet there are thousands of healthy seniors out there that are willing to go there and prepare for colonization. Why not send them over there and give it a shot?

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:40 AM
Do you have to pay tax on Mars?

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 08:06 AM
That's nice, but Buzz is also old and old people tend to get senile no matter how brilliant they were in their younger years.

"Keep people on mars!"

Yeah, he is suffering from early onset dementia alright.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by LogicalExplanation]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 08:31 AM

Originally posted by LogicalExplanation

Yeah, he is suffering from early onset dementia alright.

That was certainly a comment I didn't see coming. But I kind of like surprises, so thank you.

Anyway, I don't think the grand old man Aldrin is anywhere near senile or dement.

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.

You can visit his home page here:

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:46 AM
I agree! If they want to go to Mars so badly, they should just go and stay there! Earth, love it or leave it!

Sorry, had to do it.

It doesn't really seem feasible. The difference between establishing a temporary base as opposed to a permanent colony is huge.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:10 PM
reply to post by Phage

Yes, Phage, Earth perhaps isn't the worst place to be after all! We have a beautiful place here, now we just have to learn to take better care of it.

Anyway, some peple thinks it is very possible to build a permanent Mars base. At the site of you can view the building of such a base step by step:

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.

The first step:

We begin with the initial landing on Mars, using the Mars Direct plan.
The large structure with the ramp is the Crew Habitat. Attached to the Habitat are a garage and a greenhouse. In the foreground are the unpressurized and pressurized rovers. In front of the greenhouse is a set of photovoltaic solar panels. And behind the Greenhouse is the Earth Return Vehicle (E.R.V.).

The last step:

View of the central courtyard with grass lawn:

Go to this site to see the whole prosess:

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:48 PM

if we send human beings to Mars, there should be no coming back for them:

This idea works for me.

The difference between establishing a temporary base
as opposed to a permanent colony is huge.

That's part of the point. Since they know they won't be coming back they have "extra incentive" to overcome whatever difficulties they encounter.

there might not be many people willing to stay forever.

There are still people in the world with an adventurous spirit. I think it would be easy to find volunteers. More difficult to find volunteers who'd you actually want to send...and probably even more difficult to find a psychologically compatible group. For instance...say you're technically limited to sending six people, and you're only sending materials sufficient to allow them a few hundred square feet of interior space. Can you imagine being stuck with the same five other people for decades in only that much space?

Keeping in mind that you want young, healthy people for this venture, do you send three couples with a very low tendancies towards jealousy? Who also happen to have all the skills necessary to both pilot the craft and maintain the colony? Pilot, navigator, engineer, a botanist, psychologist,'s a very specific set of skill you'll want for this. And do you also want to send people who are able to perform research once they're there? This makes it even more demanding. Where do you find people with these skills who also happen to be healthy, young people able to physically construct a colony and also happen to be research physicists and rocket scientists, and also happen to have the skills to grow food and keep the colony alive, and also happen to be psychologically and sexually compatiable with alone another and also happen not to be jealous psycopaths who'll start killing each other when there's marital infidelity?

It's a tall order. But...I think it could be done.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by LordBucket]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:49 PM
reply to post by ziggystar60

If anyone is interested, there is a team currently working on a mars direct simulation for Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator:
I haven't seen any updates lately, but hopefully this will get finished eventually.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by LordBucket

I can only forsee a single way a group could remain cohesive for the rest of their lives knowing they could never return. A close-knit family, ala lost in space. Older but still healthy parents commanding it, a young couple formed by a daughter or son in law providing support. They'd probably be a generational military family with experience in flying. Personally though I think the whole concept of never returning is just plain silly. You can always launch an earth return vehicle for them to use at a later time, though realistically you're looking at probably about a year and a half on the surface while waiting for an optimal return window along with the arrival of a return vehicle to mars orbit. The mars surface to orbit vehicle should probably be the same or derived from the one that got them to the surface, refueled with hydrogen and oxygen extracted from water ice during their stay. The whole concept of getting them back to earth eventually isn't that challenging if you can get them there in the first place.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:06 PM
It's not going to happen anytime soon. Reason: health. We could not insure the health of the personnel. For example, any diseases like cancer, appendicitis, brain tumors, etc. Historically, colony diseases occur in tight quarters, also. I suspect that there are not solutions for these problems yet, unless you want to take a heart surgeon, brain surgeon, operating room, facilities for support of these functions, etc. It takes a lot to keep humans alive and well, not to mention psychologically healthy. For example, "Honey, I'm home." and the rewards of human reinforcement from loved ones is gone.

Maybe pairs of man/woman, like Adam/Eve, so there is interaction and self-fulfillment. I don't know.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:43 PM
Thanks for the link. I should have known that the "planning" was so far along. So many problems though; medical issues (as stated), crop failure, problems with the structure. I haven't gone through the whole website, are there contingency plans?

BTW, the Robinson Mars trilogy is a good read.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:55 PM
hell yeah i would go. New experiences and new knowledge. i would not pass up the opportunity like that at all. I would stay up there for the rest of my life.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 02:30 PM
reply to post by Phage

They have contingency plans regarding the energy systems of the Mars Homestead Project. Go to this site, and click the link called "MHP Nuclear & Electrical Systems Consept Presentation":

And they are certainly aware that the new "Martians" also needs to be taken care of mentally:

"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."

And thanks for the book tip, Phage!

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 02:43 PM
hell, sign me up. sure, i won't be able to see the people i care about anymore (unless a couple come with), but the other side of the coin is that i won't have to see or hear about or deal with the countless assholes that make living on earth, in the united states, in illinois, in chicago, unbearable.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 03:03 PM
Sign me up. All i need is a guitar, internet connection, astronaut wife and a superfast computer. Then earth can kiss my sorry behind goodbye.


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 03:12 PM

A close-knit family, ala lost in space

...personally I would rather spend the rest of my life with complete and total strangers chosen at random than with my family...

This would also further complicate the difficulty in findign a suitable group. Finding a family with all the desired skills and traits is going to be difficult.

The whole concept of getting them back to earth eventually isn't
that challenging if you can get them there in the first place.

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.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 03:44 PM

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 Mars Homestead Project has thought about this too:

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.

Now you just need to find some nice, total strangers to go to Mars with.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 03:46 PM
we have the tecnology to at least power a computer and send along some movies and games, but I would be more concerned with primal urges. the people sent would have to have those urges stemed or you will have chaos. Even on those long ship voyages to discover new land here on earth they had the cabin boy. Who wants to sign up for that job?? you cant pull into a martian port or truck stop and "sample the local flavors" obviously.

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