The first Martians will be human.
On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” rang from television sets and radios around the world to millions of tense listeners. In 2024, mankind will make another giant leap, stretching the limits of human settlement. The goal of this mission, named Mars One, is to establish a permanent settlement on Mars, a desolate inhabitable wasteland.
But at what cost? A crew of four will depart every two years for Mars, never to return to their friends, families, or planet. Many additional inventions and innovations will have to be made for the astronauts to have a chance at returning home.
NASA projected that the one-way ticket for the four will cost the astronomical amount of $100 billion USD. To pay for the excursion, the mission will be filmed and projected on TV’s around the world, similar to Apollo 11 nearly half a century prior, except in the form of a reality TV show.
Watch the show’s preview:
CEO of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp, started the company in 2011 on a dream. With the help of a team of experts, he determined the feasibility of the mission using technical, financial, social-psychological and ethical components. In my opinion, the technology may be there, but the social-physchological and ethical components aren’t.
According to Mars One, over 200,000 people from around the world applied for the four positions to be among the first on Mars, and they have narrowed it down to a mere 100. I can’t even begin to fathom what could compel a person to choose this. The psychological implications seem impossible to over come. Mine are as follows:
1. Being in the same enclosed space for the rest of your life
2. Never seeing friends or family again
3. Never seeing Earth again
4. Knowing the whole world is watching your actions on a TV
5. Being in close quarters with the same four people for the rest of your life
6. Never eating fresh food again
7. Possibility of death
Yet hundreds of thousands of people are willing to die on Mars. Watch the video below of people who are willing to leave their families and friends forever. People willing to never watch the sun set or rise again. People who are willing to never hear a bird call or wind whistle for the rest of their lives.
When I first heard that over 200,000 people want to go on this mission, I immediately imagined what they must look like. They would have to have insane eyes, tilted glasses, and wild hair. They couldn’t have any friends or family and would have to be painfully antisocial. I didn’t foresee that these people looked like me and my friends. It’s a choice that each person makes for themselves. To me, it’s a decision between life and death. To others, it’s a decision between leading a dream and just existing on Earth.