Details Of Mars Mission Released
Details are being released about a planned trip to Mars in 2031.
Apparently most of the idea is that supplies and shelter will actually be sent via unmanned probes several years before the manned mission.
Actually the whole thing sounds a little dicey and very much like some of the goofy notions they came up with for trying to send a human to the moon in the 1960's - for instance the idea to just get someone up there and then keep sending supplies until you can find a way to get the astronaut back.
Now part of this Mars mission is going to be a self-recycling habitat on the way up and the way back. This is a notion that has certainly shown promise with novelty items such as the Ecosphere, but did NOT work out so well in the Biosphere 2 fiasco.
However, most of my research on a Mars trip seems to point out that the biggest difficulty faced is the radiation. Now, on these little jaunts to the moon, there simply isn't enough time for the radiation to cause lasting damage. But, out there away from a significant magnetic field to block the steady stream of high energy charged particles coming from the sun, there wouldn't be much left of a deep space crew.
On the other hand, people tend to be crafty. Al Bean, the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 12 once told me that when he first entered the Apollo program he had no idea how they were going to get to the moon. Despite the throngs of conspiracists out there, I think they worked out the problems to make that little trip, and no doubt we'll figure out some way to deal with the radiation on the way to Mars and back as well ...