A biologist trying to go to Mars

Biologist Chris Patil is one of the 1058 people chosen (from more than 200,000 initial applicants) to participate in the second round of Mars One astronaut selection. That is, to say, he is one of 1058 people who are angling for a chance to go to Mars and never come back. He's keeping a blog about the experience and you can read it.

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  1. Mars One is about collecting application fees. Their timeline is pure fantasy, not even pretending to have anything to do with reality. Their economics for a manned trip are pure fantasy.

    That doesn't mean nothing good will come of it. They're planning an unmanned lander - paying Lockheed Martin to build a duplicate of their Phoenix Lander.

    They've raised $544,026 collecting application fees. Now they just need to raise the other 99.9985% of the $350 million needed to build the lander. If they do that soon, perhaps LockMart can have it built by their 2018 launch date. And assuming they can con a second similar round of would-be astronauts to raise the same amount, then they just need to raise the remaining 96% of the $56.5 million Falcon 9 launch cost.

  2. This is a non-starter. We can't send people to their deaths unless it's to save lives. What we need to do is research faster propulsion systems, shielding from cosmic radiation, and pseudo gravity systems.

  3. Actually, they did. On his first voyage Columbus left 39 men, founding the settlement of La Navidad at the site of present-day Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti.

    I live in Manitoba, where the temperature will routinely stay below -30 for an entire month. Colonists on even a minimal one-way trip to Mars will likely arrive better prepared for the environment than the colonists who arrived here in Manitoba.

  4. Why can't we? Let's face it: everybody dies, no exceptions. Being born puts you under a death sentence, the only things open to debate are when and how. Now, a suicide mission, one where there's no chance of making a go of it, that'd be right out. But one where there'd be the equipment and supplies to stand a reasonable chance of making a go of it (eg. having the stuff to build greenhouses for food and oxygen, and basic supplies for long enough to be able to build and bootstrap what we need), I'd jump at that chance (though in my case age and physical condition would probably disqualify me). My view on it is that if it doesn't work out then it didn't work out, and at least I went out having taken my swing at it. If you try there's always a chance you'll fail, but you'll never do if you never try.

    You think nobody died opening the American West? You think nobody joined a wagon train until there was no chance Indians or bandits or breakdowns or weather could leave everyone dead or stranded with no hope of rescue? Hah.

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