I found this article about manned missions to Mars fascinating. I moderate the bioethics section of Scientist Solutions, so any and all ethical questions are interesting. This article purports that a manned mission to Mars is unachievably expensive, partially due to the fact that to bring said astronaut home would more then double the cost (fuel, take off . . .). The author asks the question of whether it is ethical as a society to ask a person to undertake a mission on which there is no return. New surveys brought up in the article would suggest that a large number of scientists are willing to take that plunge. It is noble of them to say that, and I do believe there would be a long list of people ready to go. Do you think there would be a political or public outcry against such a mission?
This also can tie in to an ethical question of job responsibility for the public good. We would count on our health care workers to put thier lives at risk in treatment of infectious disease (a pandemic). Can we also demand of our astronauts to give up their lives in service to a greater good?
Just some thoughts. I welcome any responses.