8-9 months nightmare? You've got to be kidding. Many explorers throughout history have endured worse.
Let's talk scurvy and rickets, no fresh water, bugs and rats, freezing cold and poor clothing. Compared to what many explorers have endured a trip to Mars in an amazingly well planned and funded mission would be a luxury cruise.
I imagine there were many people like Ed at the time of the likes of Columbus who though...ooh, that trip is so hard, we shouldn't go. No one can predict all of the outcomes that trips to Mars will bring, but we can say by looking at the past that exploration has yielded amazing outcomes.