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Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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There's an op-ed on why the radiation risk of going to Mars is worth it. While I don't want to go, it is voluntary for the people who go. I think they should be allowed to decide. People do dangerous things on Earth all the time. Plus, it wasn't exactly safe the cross the United States when the US grew - Oregon Trail and the like.

Thoughts?


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Bear Bibeault
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  67

The settlers didn't have to worry about liability lawyers.


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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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  34

Totally agree. And our military, firemen, policemen, and rescue workers of all kinds put themselves in harm's way every single day; it seems like bad calculus indeed to be deterred by space radiation but not by bullets and IEDs.


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Paul Clapham
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    8

I don't see why people shouldn't get together and build a spaceship and fly it to Mars. I'm not so sure that your government ought to be in that business, though.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Paul Clapham wrote:I don't see why people shouldn't get together and build a spaceship and fly it to Mars. I'm not so sure that your government ought to be in that business, though.

Mars One is a private enterprise.
Paul Clapham
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    8

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Mars One is a private enterprise.


Then I don't see what the problem is. If they want to go, they should be allowed to go.
Martin Vajsar
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  60

The problem is that it is a one-way trip. If the martian settlers ever want or need to return, a ship built on Earth would have to pick them up.

I don't want to prevent anyone from going to a one-way trip. However, imagine that the life support on the martian colony gets damaged and the settlers will need a new supply from Earth. Will anybody be obliged (morally or legally) to send it?
Ulf Dittmer
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  64
Will anybody be obliged (morally or legally) to send it?

Not in my book. People who undertake such a trip know that it will be a one-way trip, and that it can end in any number of ways, foreseen or unforeseen. If they want a trip back, they'll have to make arrangements (financial and practical) beforehand, and understand that it might still not work out. It's too much to expect that society at large will do that for them.


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Martin Vajsar
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  60

Will anybody be obliged (morally or legally) to send it?

Not in my book.

I share this view.

However, in the recent floods that hit my country - and other parts of central Europe -, there were some idiots who took inflatable boats (not even rafts) and took to sail on swollen rivers. Some of them drowned. Some of them were rescued. But in all cases, the rescuers and firefighters did their best to save them, even risking their own lives. This is quite an extreme example, but I think that the general modus operandi is that person in need is helped and only then the question of guilt (or perhaps payment) is raised.

How would that change in case of the martian expedition is quite an interesting question.
Ulf Dittmer
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  64
True, there are idiots everywhere. A few years ago a German aid worker (not part of any NGO, she kind of freelanced on her own) was kidnapped in Iraq. This was at a time when it was life-threateningly dangerous for anyone from a Western country to be in Iraq in the first place, much more so without a military escort. She was freed alive only after the German government employed considerable diplomatic and financial means. Her first words back home were: "I want to go back to help the people of Iraq." Such people deserve whatever hell they end up in.

On the other hand, while for firefighters and other rescue workers it's part of the job to go into dangerous situations where others would not, even there are limits if the risk is deemed too high. For example, fire fighters will abandon a house even if there are people trapped inside, if it's considered in danger of collapsing.

I don't see how anyone could reasonably argue that the risk of a rescue mission to Mars were acceptable, particularly not if the first mission did have problems.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I think the difference is that one way Martian travelers will be signing a waiver that they understand it is a one way trip and could end in death. Whereas the people Martin and Ulf mention didn't have the opportunity to sign away that "right" in advance. (Because nobody would have thought they would do such a thing.)

We had the same thing in New York during "Superstorm Sandy." Our Mayor said that people who didn't evacuate would not have protection/rescue after a certain point. Granted that wasn't fully followed up on, but it was said. And I think it was the right thing to do. You give people an opportunity to receive services. If they don't want to listen, it isn't fair to put our rescue workers in danger for no reason.

I think Bear nailed it with the liability lawyer problem. The United States wouldn't be what it is today without allowing people to take personal risks. I certainly wouldn't be here. We read about space stories in sci fi. I think of some future Martian kid writing the same thing - that he/she wouldn't be there if his/her ancestors weren't allowed to risk their lives.
Maneesh Godbole
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    8

"Colonize mars"
Hmmm. Conquest of paradise. Avatar. Some things never change.


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Jesper de Jong
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  21

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I think the difference is that one way Martian travelers will be signing a waiver that they understand it is a one way trip and could end in death.

A one way trip that will end in a lonely, cold death, very far away from home.

The difference between this one-way trip to Mars and the things you mentioned is that the Mars One travellers are not really risking their lives - they're going there with the certainty that they'll never come back. Risking implies that there's a chance they will survive.

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fred rosenberger
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  16

Jesper de Jong wrote:A one way trip that will end in a lonely, cold death, very far away from home on their new home.

fixed that for you.


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Matthew Brown
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Jesper de Jong wrote:Risking implies that there's a chance they will survive.


I hate to bring anyone down, but they're going to die regardless of whether they go to Mars or not. So the risk is related to how long it takes, and what they do during that time.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Now there's an argument! "They are going to die anyway and they agreed it may be sooner."
Pat Farrell
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    5

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote: "They are going to die anyway and they agreed it may be sooner."

We are all going to die anyway. Some folks decide that risky activity is worth it. Seems like a personal choice to me.

The technology to go to Mars is not that big a deal, just that NASA will never approach the problem in a way that is sensible. You need to have dozens, maybe hundreds of unmanned rockets deliver fuel, food, and oxygen into low-earth orbit. Then send the people up, grab the supplies and head out to Oregon or Mars.
 
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