NASA rethinking death in mission to Mars: There are some very sad questions you have to answer when you’re sending someone to Mars.
How do you get rid of the body of a dead astronaut on a three-year mission to Mars and back?
When should the plug be pulled on a critically ill astronaut who is using up precious oxygen and endangering the rest of the crew? Should NASA employ DNA testing to weed out astronauts who might get a disease on a long flight?
With NASA planning to land on Mars 30 years from now, and with the recent discovery of the most “Earth-like” planet ever seen outside the solar system, the space agency has begun to ponder some of the thorny practical and ethical questions posed by deep space exploration.
This reminds me of the “Lost in Space Scenarios” that The Smoking Gun posted a while back. They were scripts that the Nixon Administration was going to use if they couldn’t get an astronaut back from the moon. They went like this:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men […] know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
Sound far-fetched? Conspiracy theorists say that the Soviet Union actually abandoned some astronauts in space back in 1962:
The Torre Bert tower in Italy allegedly picked up a frantic set of messages relayed by the three occupants. “Conditions growing worse why don’t you answer? … we are going slower… the world will never know about us…”