I was envisioning a human mission to Mars the other day as I have done several times before. It is to my understanding that a round trip to Mars would take approx. 1 year (to and fro 6 months each). I was wondering what NASA would do if one of the astronauts "passed away" during the voyage (ie heart attack). This is obviously something (albeit unlikely) that has to be considered.
I'm inclined to think that the mission would be immediately aborted. However, would that be the right move if the crew could perform all the neccessary duties and the risks were not significantly increased by the absence of the astronaut? They should be trained to perform each others functions for safety precautions by redundancy.
I would imagine if it happened while still closer to earth they would turn right back around no questions asked. But lets say they had been traveling for almost the 6 months and had less than a week till Mars arrival. Then what? Proceed?
My guess is it would be aborted and return immediately no matter what stage because of the media publicity surrounding the mission. What are your thoughts?