How badly do you want to go to Mars? So badly that you’re willing to make it a one-way trip. And if you’re lucky, LUCKY, you might get a chance to live out a full life on the surface of the Red Planet – a place that’s totally inhospitable to human life. The risks are enormous, the trip will be difficult, and the unknown challenges of trying to survive on Mars have yet to be discovered.
It baffles the imagination that anyone would be willing to put themselves in that kind of risk, turning their back on their friends and family to die (probably quickly) on an alien world. And yet, more than 200,000 people have applied to the Mars One Project, and 663 candidates have been put on the shortlist. Eventually just 4 people will be packed into a spacecraft and blasted off to the Red Planet in 2018. Once they get there, they’ll need to survive with what they brought with them, and what they can scrounge from the surface of the planet. And then they’ll be joined every 2 years later by another crew of potential colonists.
In this short video, the Guardian profiles three would-be Mars colonists to find out what motivates them to participate in this journey.
On its surface, the idea, of course is crazy. And I’ve been skeptical from the beginning that Mars One is ever going to get off the ground, let alone get humans to the surface of Mars, alive. And even if they do arrive alive, calculations from MIT seem to indicate how they’ll die will be a race between a lack of air, water, food or exposure to radiation.
But I’ve also said on many occasions that human space exploration needs focus on getting humans into space, taking greater and greater steps into the Solar System, pushing the boundaries of what we know how to do. We need to turn the impossible into the possible, and the dangerous into the routine. And it’s great to see organizations like Mars One publicly pushing this agenda forward. If nothing else, this helps encourage the space agencies to realize that their citizens want to see them take on big challenges, and that they’re willing to endure the risks.
Elon Musk has stated that the goal for SpaceX is to support the colonization of Mars. This is why he won’t take the company public until the Mars Transportation System is up and running, so it can be unhindered by shareholders who don’t support the longterm goal of colonizing Mars. Considering Musk’s track record so far with SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City, it’s hard to think he’ll fail at anything he really puts his mind to.
No near term plans to IPO @SpaceX. Only possible in very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2013
Perhaps there will eventually be an alliance between SpaceX and Mars One, to support one another as they send humans on a one way trip to Mars. And maybe, these future astronauts will get to live a long life, until they die on Mars.