Man has long dreamt of stepping foot on Mars, of conquering the red planet and further expanding mankind’s reach. Most of the time however, that dream also involves actually returning to Earth at some point. Not so for 10 lucky (crazy) volunteers who will be hand selected by a Dutch entrepreneur to go where no man has ever gone before – and never come back.
According to Foxnews.com, Bas Lansdorp and his company Mars One will be holding a worldwide lottery to decide who will take part in establishing mankind’s first colony on Mars. Forty people will at first be selected and train for several months at a mock Mars base in a desert. From there the team will be narrowed down to ten crew members who will make the trip to the red planet in 2023 – if everything goes according to plan.
Hopefully the one way trip part will help. Lansdorp says that much of the difficulty in launching a manned mission to Mars is planning for the return trip and figuring a way to get back to Earth. A one way mission, obviously, wouldn’t have such problems. Supplies and the living habitat would be sent to the surface of Mars in the years prior to the launch of the manned mission. The “Martians” upon arrival would then have to become self-efficient, growing plants through a method that doesn’t require soil known as hydroponics.
Still, let’s think about this for a second. The surface of Mar’s can’t sustain life, so even if the crew members of Mars One do survive the long journey, they would soon be confined in a spacesuit or small plastic colony for the rest of their life. Can you imagine the kind of effect that would have on people, knowing they would never return to Earth? I can’t say I would envy them. Crew members will have to live with and get along with a group of other people in a small space for the rest of their lives. There isn’t any going outside to get a breath of fresh air or to escape an annoying crewmate.
A reality show might be in the works, chronicling the training of the initial forty individuals and the selection process. Money raised through the show would help Mars One fund the project, which is looking at buying the spaceships and rockets through outside suppliers. It remains to be seen if Lansdorp’s dream of sending humans to Mars will be accomplished, but you have to give the guy props for dreaming large.
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