I read about this project the other day called Mars One.
The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.
Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.
NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.
#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.
#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.
Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.
The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.
That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).
There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.
Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.
Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.
The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.
This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.
I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.
There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.
Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.
And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.
A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.
Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.
My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!
PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.