Considering present day technology, it may be too dangerous, but that is not to say a concentrated effort to eliminate all the risks involved would make it any less dangerous. All is needed to have a disaster is one safety link in the chain to fail, and we lose everything. The moon is one thing, but the distance to Mars is just too vast for present day technology, and with a concentrated effort, we can have the technology in a short period of time, if enough money and interest is put into the project.
Since the question is whether or not the trip to Mars is dangerous, and doesn’t ask if “now” it would be too dangerous, then by the time we have eliminated all the problems that we could possibly think of, we just might be able to the trip safely. The weightlessness could be eliminated by building a huge circular space station type of mother ship that would house the astronauts in the outer rim of the station, and the station itself rotates at a speed which would provide an artificial gravity.
That would solve the problem of the bone and muscle deterioration as well as all the exercise needed to keep them in shape. Less baggage as a result of less equipment needed for this particular problem. The station can be built and can orbit the earth until the trip is ready to go, and the whole station becomes the vehicle by which they would reach the planet. The ship that bring the astronauts to the station and back would be the same ship that would land on the surface while the space station orbits the planet.
Having such a large station would allow for several years of survival if needed, as it would contain all the essentials for it to be self sustained. Food can be grown in the hub of the station, and then transferred to the living quarters in the outer rim. If large enough, the station would act as an artificial world all in itself that would provide all the comforts of a cruise ship here on earth. This would be a major undertaking, but not impossible, and if done right, we could even visit the outer planets.
Uncramped quarters and familiar luxuries would make the trip less harder on the astronauts as they can move freely about throughout the entire outer rim of the station. Unlimited funds to make this happen means that trip after trip into earths orbit with all the materials needed to build the station, would make the endeavor a reality in several years.
Conventional space craft as we have now wouldn’t be safe, nor practical, nor cost efficient; such crafts could be only used to shuttle back and forth between the mother ship and the planets once the mother ship is in orbit. Once we reach Mars, the mother ship would orbit Mars while the shuttle safely lands on the surface and then back to the station as supplies are needed.
Considering the amount of radiation, as well as the small pebble size stones flying at speeds that would tear holes into the shuttle or mother ship, all precautions should be made to eliminate any potential hazard that would endanger the mission. A trip to Mars is dangerous yes, but it doesn’t have to be any more dangerous than taking a trip by car that is loaded with survival materials should it become stranded out in nowhere.
To be sure, any attempt with present day technology is as dangerous as it can be, but with attention paid to details, it can be done, and done so safely. The space station as seen in the movie “2001” could be a serious consideration for a trip to Mars and beyond, because it appears to have all the necessary requirements to safely make the trip. That of course was fantasy, but we are now living in that kind of fantasy world, but without actually having the vehicles presently.
I just wish I were young enough to see it all happen as well as perhaps being a passenger, as the trips may be as common as taking a cruise on a large luxury liner. However, if it is within the human mind to do so, then it will become a reality, or we would have never discovered what our own world had to offer.