I can't seem to leave some news stories alone...
Um, Dude...Do We Have Enough Gas To Get Home?
The answer seems to be, "Nope. Not even close."
Actually, this is a good idea, but it needs a real commitment from the governments involved.
As the article and the scientists state, it is comparable to colonists coming from Europe to America. They knew it was a one-way trip, and they were not going home again. But the governments in Europe had made a commitment to colonizing the New World, and the settlers knew that more people were coming soon.
Frankly, I wouldn't trust the US government in the form of NASA to keep the lights on at the Johnson Space Center for more than a couple of weeks into the future.
The article also makes reference to "...NASA's commitment to safety..."
Those of you paying any attention to NASA will get a big laugh out of that! Let's review a couple of recent events...
Space shuttle Challenger was lost with seven souls aboard in 1986 when she exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. The investigation found that failure of O-ring seals on the solid rocket boosters (SRB) allowed a burn-through that caused a failure of the external tank and the explosion. Erosion of the O-rings was a known issue and the fact that colder temperatures at launch equaled increased erosion was also well known. The problem really came down to a management attitude that schedule was more important than safety, and the decision to launch at temperatures far colder than the testing models allowed was made.
Space shuttle Columbia was lost with seven souls aboard in 2003 after heat-shield failure during reentry to Earth's atmosphere. The investigation found that a piece of foam insulation from the external tank had broken loose during liftoff and struck Columbia, ripping a large hole in the wing that allowed hot gases to enter the airframe. Shedding of foam and debris striking the shuttles had long been known to be an issue, but management decided that the risks were acceptable and that no further work needed to be done on the problem because such a project would delay the shuttle fleet's schedule.
I won't even go into the fact that NASA had a mentally unstable astronaut who wore adult diapers to drive from Houston to the Kennedy Space Center to bop her romantic rival in the head with a hammer.
NASA's safety record is iffy at best, but it has nothing to do with engineering or design or construction. It all has to do with mismanagement. In short, the managers at NASA are a rather large collection of degreed dipsticks.
Now, imagine this...
After being told that more people will be maybe a year or two behind you and that robotic supply ships only a few months behind you, you volunteer for a one-way trip to Mars. Your mission is to establish the beginnings of a colony that will grow as more people arrive. You have just enough fuel to get to Mars.
You're about two-thirds of the way there, and Mission Control calls you up...
"Mars One, this is Mission Control."
"Go ahead Mission Control, this is Mars One."
"Um, hi guys...um, how's it going?"
"Just fine. We really liked the pureed carrots you sent along, but what we really want is a Big Mac."
"Well, um...there might be a little delay in getting that to you. In fact, just how many of those carrots do you have left?"
"Not many, but we know you'll be sending more on the first supply ship."
"What does that mean, Mission Control?"
"Well, there's been a few changes since you left, and the new Director doesn't think the Mars Colony project is a good way to spend the very limited budget that Congress has approved for NASA. There isn't going to be a supply ship or more people sent before FY2361."
"Say what? It's 2020 now!"
"Yeah, well, it's kind of like this...the program has been canceled."
"And where does that leave us?"
"But we're going to do more flyovers of the arctic and look at the ice not melting! Isn't that exciting?"
"Mission Control? Hello? Is this thing on??"
"And we're going to get more hours on the SR-71, too! That's such a neat plane!"
"Hal, open the pod bay doors, please."
"And then we're all going to a nice barbecue over in Huntsville! The hamburgers there are the best!"
"Hal? Are you there?"
"And the president is coming next week to tell us all what a great job we're doing, even if he doesn't understand any of it! We're gonna let him push some of the buttons, too!"
Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author
Melodee's Books at BookStrand