ASU, Washington State professors urge human mission to Mars


November 7, 2011

Editor's Note: Arizona State will take on Washington State University, at 8:30 p.m., Nov. 12, in Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

The time for a human mission to Mars is now, according to astrobiologists Paul Davies of Arizona State University and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University. Download Full Image

The two collaborated this year to edit “A One Way Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet,” a collection of articles. They say the book provides a road map for how we can accomplish one of the major upcoming challenges for humankind.

The overall message of this volume is not just that going to Mars is a worthwhile scientific program and a great adventure worthy of Homo sapiens. "It is that we can begin the project now,” wrote the editors.

“I truly believe that the exploration and eventual colonization of Mars is a critical step toward the long-term survival of our species, and this book, laying out the plan toward this endeavor, is a significant move in the right direction,” said Schulze-Makuch, director of the Laboratory for Astrobiological Investigations and Space Mission Planning in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Washington State.

The two also authored “To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,” which appeared in October 2010 in the Journal of Cosmology and which attracted massive interest worldwide.

“The dream of humans going to Mars is a recurring theme of the scientific age,” said Davies, founding director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at ASU, where he teaches in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“To make this dream a reality requires an audacious plan: to send humans with a one-way ticket,” Davies said. “We are not talking about a suicide mission. Our plan is to put four astronauts on Mars to do great science, and build a base camp for others to follow. These trailblazers will be resupplied from Earth, and eventually joined by additional colonists. It will be the first step in building a permanent human presence on the Red Planet.”

According to Davies and Schulze-Makuch, the huge advantage of a one-way mission is the enormous savings in costs and the long-term commitment required for space exploration, particularly Mars exploration. They write that by cutting out the return journey, the budget can be slashed by 80 percent, bringing a Mars mission within the reach of a consortium of space agencies and private operators.

“The lure of possible microbial life on Mars, which could have stunning consequences for our science and our understanding of our place in the universe is a major motivation for such a mission,” Davies said. “But the ultimate goal is to create a self-sustaining human colony on another planet as a safeguard for humanity should a mega-disaster occur on Earth.”

Would anyone be bold enough to volunteer for such a one-way mission?

“My inbox has been overflowing with messages from people eager to go. Some of them distinguished scientists,” Davies said.

Written by Carol Hughes

ASU events mark 400th anniversary of King James Bible


November 7, 2011

The King James Bible has now been in use for four centuries, and Arizona State University is planning several public lectures and events to mark the anniversary.

At 10:30 a.m., Nov. 14, in Hayden Library room C6 East, on ASU’s Tempe campus, faculty from the Department of English will participate in a panel discussion, “The King James Bible: A Celebration of Language and Literature.” Download Full Image

Also on Nov. 14, faculty from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS) will participate in a discussion titled “The Dawn of King James Bible in America.” This event will be held at 7:30 p.m., in the Memorial Union, room 202, Tempe campus. Refreshments will be served.

And from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Nov. 19, The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) will host a symposium, “Celebrating 400 Years of the King James Bible,” in Hayden Library Room C6 East. All programs are free and open to the public.

The events are being held in conjunction with the exhibit “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” a national traveling exhibition for libraries, that will be on display at Hayden Library Nov. 14-Dec. 6.

The exhibit tells the story of the origins, creation, and impact of one of the most influential books in history. It not only highlights the dramatic tale behind the making of this great book, but also includes its influence on English and American literature, and its multifaceted impact on culture and society to the present day.

The exhibit’s chronological narrative focuses on the human side of this major cultural landmark and explores the book’s social, cultural, literary, and religious influence over four centuries, from Handel's “Messiah,” Melville's “Moby-Dick” and Toni Morrison's novel “Song of Solomon” to the reading of Genesis – in the King James Bible version – by astronauts orbiting the Moon.

"Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible" was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas. The traveling exhibition was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The lectures and symposium are sponsored by ASU Librarie, SHPRS, Department of English and ACMRS.

For more information, visit lib.asu.edu or contact Rachel Leket-Mor (rachel.leket-mor@asu.edu).