30 June 2012
I wrote this little ditty this week, and recorded it on my phone last night. I've been a fan of space exploration since I was a small child (no news there), and back at the age of 10, if you'd told me that there would be no-one on Mars, or even the moon, when I would be 42, I'd have assumed civilisation was doomed.
Here's the deal - getting to Mars, while challenging, is relatively straightforward. Getting home on the other hand is pretty darned tricky, since you have to bring everything with you on the trip to effectively launch a full space mission from your destination. Not trivial.
To that end, some people have been exploring the notion of "One Way to Mars", i.e. sending a manned mission where return to Earth is not in the plan. Volunteers would be going to go to Mars to spend the rest of their lives there - possibly without the prospect of old age, with a high probability of relatively early death through medical problems (even if the radiation doesn't get 'em), habitat systems failure, accidents, and any number of additional hazards that might crop up in forty years (let's say) on the Martian surface.
Pretty scary, since most people harbour at least some longing for Earth and to see their family again. Worth it? Undoubtedly there would be many volunteers, but could they stick the pace? Perhaps the bet isn't so bad, because if a "colony" was going and building infrastructure for (say) 10 years, perhaps the ability to return the original colonists (should they wish to go back) would grow. Maybe the "One Way to Mars" option wouldn't be such a problem after all, especially if we launched several of them over the course of (say) a decade. The potential for this is better now than ever before, thanks to the entry onto the stage of companies like SpaceX, who are making great strides in opening up the Final Frontier.
Anyway, this song is dedicated to that pioneering urge, in the hope that maybe some day we will indeed build a home in the canyons of Mars.
Posted by Shane at 18:54