High-risk mission to Mars. Do you volounteer?

Inspired by the current thread about manned spaceflights in GD :
The WSA (World Space Agency) directorate, lacking funds, has agreed on a major PR move: launching a manned mission to Mars. The HR department happens to be headed by a doper, who is confident that only fellow dopers will be bright enough not to mess things up, and stupid enough to actually volunteer. So the crew will be recruited exclusively on this board.
Unfortunately, as you know, current technology dont really allow us to send safely a manned mission to Mars. It is estimated that the chance of success (taking into account possible solar flares killing the whole crew, errors in metric unit/imperial unit conversion and counter-attack by the Martians) is 25%. You’ve 50% chance of making it to Mars, and if you do, 50% chance of coming back safely to Earth. Yes, the WSA is that desesperate.

It being purely a PR move, nothing important is expected to be achieved during the mission, apart from shots of you making historical statements while stepping on the surface of Mars. So, no particular competence is required. Also, the recent International Anti-Discrimination Treaty prevents the rejection of an application on the basis of age, physical ailments, psychiatric issues, etc… So, being in shape isn’t a requirement, either.

The mission (travelling to and back from Mars, pretending to conduct experiments of capital importance, waiting for a convenient launch window for the return trip) will last 3 years.

Given these conditions, will you volunteer to be part of he first crew that might land on Mars and will have the name of its members appear in history books?

In case you’d wonder, personnally, I’ll watch the landing on my TV set.

Assuming that I could survive liftoff (I have heart problems), yeah, I might go. I don’t know if I’d want to come back, though…lower gravity might feel too good to me! On the other hand, playing my online games would be over. And on the gripping hand, I could take my PS2 and finally catch up on all my console games, and replay the ones I’ve been neglecting.

I’m in. A mission like this is gonna need somebody that can swing a wrench.
50% pssh, that the odds for the other losers. We are dopers damn it, much better than the average Joe.

Nope. No interest at all.

I think I would probably still go it there was a 50% chance of arriving safely and no plan at all to return.

I mean, as long as there was some useful work to do there and provisions to last for as long as it took to get it done. Pioneering another planet?

If there was a chance to go, get it done, and come back, I wouldn’t blink. Not at all.

Nothing important expected of me – check.
Make historical statements – have ability to talk – check.
Step on the surface of Mars – must remember to bring cute shoes – check.

That’s me, too! No particular competence whatsoever. It’s like a match made in heaven!

Those requirements are just for me, though, right? The rest of the crew will be, you know, smart and stuff?

I guess as long as my demands were met, I’d go. I mean, I’d only be gone for three years, if I returned at all. I’d have a chance at seeing something only a handful of people ever see. As long as I could vet the rest of the crew and make sure I wasn’t going to be stuck in something the size of a broom closet with people who make me crazy, I’d do it.

Chicken. :wink:

As cool as it’s been to see what Spirit and Opportunity discovered, from a geologist’s perspective it’s also been pretty frustrating. “Whaddya mean, it’s a big boulder that’s red on one side and blue on the other, but you’re not sure what kind of rock it is? If only someone could whack the damn thing open with a hammer!”

Hell yeah, I’d go.

C’mon, you’ve just been waiting for years to use that “on the gripping hand” line in a context where someone might know what you’re talking about.

Me…hmmm…well, it’s a chance to make history. On the other hand, that history might be “the nail in the coffin of manned spaceflight” if your odds are really that low. (And I know that this is a thought experiment with clearly defined odds, but in the real world, if you were estimating those kinds of odds, I’d figure the real chances of success to be a couple of standard deviations to the left.) And aside from the history-making opportunity to plant the flag on a new planetary surface (I get to plant the flag, right?) it’s mostly going to be bordom; a nine month trip each way, a fifteen month layover, stuck in a tin can, dependent upon recycling systems to keep me in air and water, and chance to prevent getting blasted by a radiation shower or punched through by a micrometeor. Think less 2001: A Space Oddessy and more Das Boot (the uncut miniseries version). All this for the chance to set foot on a rusty, dusty, nearly airless planet scarcely larger than the Moon.

Nay, I think I’ll wait for next year’s model. Now, if you were going to Jupiter or Saturn…


Nah, I’ve already been to Mars several times. It’s been fun and all, but generally speaking, I’ve got a 100% chance of returning safely from that trip so I’ll just keep doing that instead :wink:

Christ, yes!

Even if there were only a 10% of my survival, I’d still have to do it, just to have the chance to see the silent majesty of space for myself.

(And this is coming from the woman who has to be drugged in order to endure an airplane flight.)

I’d go in a heartbeat, even if it were my last – regardless of any survival odds. What an opportunity!

Having a wonderful time, wish you were here.

HELL yes. PLEASE let me go. Right now!

At the bare minimum I get to explode in a rocketship on the way into space, which ya gotta admit is a pretty cool way to go.

Best case scenario I’m the first guy to meet Martians.

Anything in between? Yeah, sign me up for that. :smiley:

Roger that.

And even if it was going to be a disaster that was the “nail in the coffin of manned spaceflight”—well, then, if I stay on Earth, I get to die in the mud with the rest of humanity…but if I go, I’ll still die (albeit sooner than most), but I’ll have gained historical immortality, and transcended into figurative godhood by slipping the surly bonds of Earth while the rest of the species cowered in the cradle. Even if I ended up as nothing more than a charred, frozen corpse hurdling through the silent, endless black, I’ll still have achieved more than almost any other being from our planet could ever hope to do.

(Fantasies of grandeur and high-powered rocketry…they always did go hand in hand, didn’t they? :cool: )

I’ll stay at home watching TV too. Three years of sitting in a five foot cubed room so I can beat my chest at the other end just doesn’t do it for me. Nor does dying so I can see a really distant rock. Space would be cool, but I’d rather wait fifty years for the moon shuttle to be started.

Definitely go. But I’d get private sponsorship to boost the odds. :smiley:

Oh man - talk about conflict of interest.

On the one hand - Space! Mars! Glory! (and Almost Certain Death!). What’s not to love?

On the other…the Wife And Kids (capitalized to confirm their importance).

I’d have to wait until all the kids were in their 20s - another 14 years or so. Damn. Guess I’ll be watching it on TV too.

Theoretically I’m in …

Current salary & Life Insurance for my Family if I don’t make it – that is the kicker for me and if it is all “you spin the wheel and take your chances” I can’t.

I just can’t leave them destitute – even for something as worthy as that.

I’m so totally in on this it hurts. Ow. I’d make sure I got Mars rocks or something in case we do make it back.

I’ll be packed by the time you finish reading this sentence. When do we leave?