The journey to Mars

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 2, 2015

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” were the historic words from Neil Armstrong heard around the world as they watched broadcasts of the moon landing.

I wasn’t alive to witness the original broadcasts, but I have been a long time fan of space travel and its influence on various media.

Through movies, television shows and video games the prospect of seeing an alien world intrigues me. But would I really want to go to such a strange place?

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Sure, but not through the use of current technology, or lack thereof.

Outside of the lunar missions in the late 60s and early 70s, mankind has not left the general safety of the Earth’s protective layer called the magnetosphere, which protects all life on the planet from the radiation of our sun and deep space.

A mission to Mars would put humans outside of that protection much longer than any moon landing.

Recent research has found that long-term exposure to radiation common in deep space could be harmful to brain functions. Without conducting the research myself I had an idea that could be the case.

Naturally that exposure is a hurdle scientists, space agencies or private companies intending to send humans to the red planet would need to overcome.

The most important reason why I would never consider travel to another planet at this point hinges on the fact it’s a one-way ticket.

That might even be acceptable, if preexisting infrastructure was waiting for me. But there is none. These first time explorers of Mars would be tasked with creating that system, so the possibility for failure is high.

Should the mission ever take place, I would count myself as one of the lucky ones to view the adventure from the comfort of my living room, not from the portal of a spacecraft.