Would you go on a mission to Mars? What about if it was a one-way mission? And you were by yourself? Yeah, that changes things a bit. Well, that's exactly what former NASA engineer Jim McClane suggests, saying that it's worth considering and removes many of the hurdles keeping us from the red planet now.
Dubbed "Spirit of the Lone Eagle," his plan would eliminate the hardest aspect of any potential Mars mission: the need to launch off of Mars to return to Earth.
Ahem. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind readers that I proposed the same idea back in 2006:
In idle moments I like to imagine ways I might get off the planet in the near-future. So far, none of them are especially probable. One idea that continues to tantalize (despite its fatalistic implications) is convincing NASA to send a one-man "experimental" mission to Mars, ostensibly to study the effects of prolonged microgravity and radiation on human physiology.
The subject? Me, of course.
I'm not asking that much, really. Just a modest capsule with life support and a way of navigating the Martian surface, even if it's just an augmented spacesuit and an inflatable tent. Once on Mars, I could continue sending NASA data on my condition, not to mention carry out geological and exobiological investigations. Given the tools and a minimum of scientific training, I figure my efforts could eclipse those of the current Mars Exploration Rovers within weeks.
Potentially suicidal? Yes.
Fun? You bet!