Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
By Kadri
Survival and Sacrifice in Mars Exploration by Erik Seedhouse

One of my favoutire topics to read about as a teenager was polar expeditions. I'm not quite certain what drew me in to read about Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen or Fridjof Nansen, but I always found those journeys incredibly interesting and then also sad because there didn't seem to be any other place left, that would produce expeditions to the edge of the unknown.

In "Survival and Sacrifice in Mars Exploration", Erik Seedhouse looks at how polar expeditions might give us a glimpse on what to expect from manned missions to Mars - the cold, the long journey, cramped conditions, unknown dangers, no help from home.

Reading this book was great as a reminder of what I already knew about polar expeditions and the possible difficulties for a Mars mission, but it also brought out many more things that should and probably would have to be carefully considered.

Some of the more gruesome ideas ofcourse were dealing with extreme trouble - might a food shortage lead a Mars mission to succumb to cannibalism? What would be done in case of a person dying en-route to Mars? Would the crew have to dispose of the body or live on a spacecraft with a corpse on-board?

It also deals with some (relatively) more likely problems - what would be done for entertainment? How to make sure that the crew remains on friendly terms after long months of space-travel in cramped quarters? Seedhouse tries to answer some of those inconveniences and problems with solutions from polar expeditions, and it does bring out the possible similarities between polar and space exploration.


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