Last year when Curiosity landed on the Mars, we pushed the boundaries of space exploration. With stunning images, soil samples, and new data pouring in every second from Curiosity, a new door has opened for the age of space exploration. Although some argue others are taking things a little too fast for comfort.
A Dutch organization, Mars One, is offering a one way ticket to the red planet to start a permanent human colony. The project hopes to send 4 lucky applicants to Mars by 2023 to set up the permanent base, while 4 more will be introduced 2 years at a time. With over 30,000 applications from all around the globe already submitted, the project is further along than you might think.
Despite NASA’s estimate of $100 billion for a manned flight to mars, Mars One projected its costs to be around $6 billion, all of which the company plans to fund completely through private investors, donors and TV broadcasting rights, i.e. a reality TV show. Yes, that’s right. They are going to turn the entire mission into one big reality TV show. Paul Romer, co-creator of the reality TV show Big Brother, is already part of the project according to the website.
The mission has begun to show a transition into the early reality TV stage. Applicants, ranging from ages 18-65 were asked to film a short 1-2 minutes video explaining why they want to be a part of the Mars One team, which are already available for view and to rate on their website. You would think you wouldn’t fit the requirements, but the application guidelines do not follow the strict and careful requirements like NASA’s, but rather the “Five Key Characteristics of an Astronaut” list, which kind of looks like a 5th grader’s essay rubric with age, height, and eye requirements thrown in. The selected “astronauts” will begin training next year for their life long journey.
Norbert Kraft, former Sr. Research Associate at NASA and Chief Medical Director for Mars One states,
“In my former work with NASA we established strict criteria for the selection and training of astronauts on long duration space flights. Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others, in the long journey from Earth to Mars and for a lifetime of challenges ahead. Psychological stability, the ability to be at your best when things are at their worst is what Mars One is looking for. If you are the kind of person that everyone chooses to have on their island, then we want you to apply too.”
While many applaud their ambition, skeptics have already begun to tear into the project given its tight schedule and unaccounted for variables. Given the mystery of space exploration, life sustainability on Mars, and the enormous costs, many say it is unlikely the plan will succeed. Wired magazine rated the plausibility of the Mars One mission a 2 out of 10, among other doubtful specialists.
Scientists can throw facts at its implausibility all they want, but everyone seems to forget its potential to spiral into a real life horror movie. Reality TV mixed in with outer space and major problems makes a survival horror scenario inevitable. With cameras everywhere, a reality other than the one intended just might take over. Here are the applications if you still want to apply!