Head In The Stars: Planet Perjurers

Would you drop everything to go live on Mars? Yesterday, my younger brother informed me that a non-profit Dutch company is accepting applicants across the world to be the first human colonizers on the planet Mars.

I chuckled. Yes, I watch Doctor Who, and I love Star Trek, but the actual reality of another human civilization on Mars - Is that really so close in our future? The Mars One Organization claims it is.

topics.cbc.ca
The Mars One mission will depart crews of four every two years starting in 2024, and the first mission is starting in merely four years - 2018! Applicants have been submitting and posting videos of themselves and stating why they feel they should go to Mars, all of which are available on the organizations website, www.mars-one.com.

Funding is being provided by donations made to the organization through an independent fundraising site, and potentially by the creation of a reality television series based on the lives of the first Mars colonizers. A living environment will be built on the planet for the soon-to-be Martians by rovers and cargo missions being sent up in coming years.

I feel a bit skeptical about this whole movement, however. Massive groups of people are donating money to fund a propagated mission to Mars on an independent fundraising site? Why have I never heard of this before?

technorati.com
In addition, their fundraising goal is currently only $400,000 in total. That would be nice to personally receive, but can hardly be seen as a feasible budget for a credible space exploration. So who would apply to a fairly recently created and generally unknown space trip with a guarantee no-return agenda?

Apparently Joanna Hindle, an English teacher from Whistler, would. She is one out of 75 Canadians and over 1000 global competitors that have been chosen to go on to the next stage of the application process. Other known successful applicants include third-year physics student Ryan MacDonald, aged 20, science technician Alison Rigby, aged 33, and a 23-year old PhD student, Maggie Lieu.

All participants seemed to be enthused about the opportunity, but some share my hesitation about the reality of leisure space travel. Lieu, for instance, stated in an interview with The Guardian that the trip is definitely feasible but delays are pretty much inevitable. So we will be able to go to Mars one day, but on this timescale? I'm not so sure.

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is also skeptical about the idea. He said, I dont think theres that much technology that indicates that the Mars One Corporation, with over 150,000 people applying, really knows how to get four people to Mars by 2023 [sic], even if they dont bring them back.

Despite their dubious nature, the Mars One Corporation has just confirmed partnerships with two companies: Lockheed Martin, which will provide a robotic landing device for the event, and Surrey Satellites, which will provide a communications satellite, according to Mars One.


Even with the general lack of public support, and my own questions on the reality of this mission coming to fruition, I am hopeful that Mars One is a success. If anything, it looks like this may be one small step for mankind, and one huge leap for reality television.


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