NASA planning one-way mission to colonise Mars

October 28th, 2010 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 28 (IANS) This NASA mission will boldly go where no man has gone before - to Mars. But then do forget about coming back to the Earth.

NASA is investigating the possibility of humans colonising other worlds such as the Red Planet in an ambitious project named the Hundred Years Starship.

The settlers would be sent supplies from the Earth, but would go on the understanding that it would be too costly or too time-consuming for them to make the return trip.

NASA Ames Centre director Pete Worden revealed that the centre has received one million pounds’ funding to start work on the project, the Daily Mail reported.

The research team has also received an additional 100,000 pounds from NASA.

“You heard it here,” Worden said at ‘Long Conversation’, an event in San Francisco in the US. “We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund.”

Worden said he has discussed the potential price tag for one-way trips to Mars with Google co-founder Larry Page, telling him that such a mission could be done for $10 billion.

“His response was, ‘Can you get it down to $1 [billion] or $2billion?’ So now we’re starting to get a little argument over the price,” Worden said.

The most recent unmanned mission to Mars was Nasa’s Phoenix lander, which was launched in August 2007 and landed on the planet’s north polar cap in May the following year.

Experts said a nuclear-fuelled rocket could shorten the journey to about four months.

Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars is the most likely to have substantial quantities of water, making it the best bet for sustaining life.

Worden claims that humans could be on Mars’ moons by 2030.

Mars is half the size of Earth, has two polar ice caps and has similar seasons to our planet. The Martian day is only 41 minutes longer than the day on Earth.

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