Earthlings Clamor for One-Way Ticket to Mars

Mars and Earth compared

More than 200,000 Earthling adventurers from 140 countries have applied for a one-way ticket to the Red Planet.

But they won’t all get to go.  This month Mars One, the visionary firm which plans to establish a human settlement on Martian soil, has narrowed the field of selected applicants to 1,058.  The list will be further pared until only about 40 remain by the time the first quartet of adventurers is launched into space in 2023.

Mars One is a nonprofit with an ambitious goal.  The private spaceflight project led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp announced plans for the Mars One mission in May 2012.  Lansdorp hopes to fund the enterprise through a combination of profits from an anticipated reality show, crowdfunding and private investors.

If Bansdorf’s dream comes true, his trained crews of four will depart for the Red Planet every two years.  After eight years of strenuous training, the Mars-bound astronauts will undertake an arduous journey of seven or eight months, confined in a very small space and surviving on canned or freeze-dried food, amid constant noise from the ventilators, computer and life support systems.

Once they arrive on Mars, they’ll live in a settlement which includes inflatable components:  bedrooms, working areas, a living room and a ‘plant production unit’, where they will grow greenery. They will also be able to shower as normal, prepare fresh food (that they themselves grew and harvested) in the kitchen, wear regular clothes, and, in essence, lead typical day-to-day lives.  If the astronauts leave the settlement, they have to wear a Mars Suit. However, all living spaces are connected by passageways, in order for the astronauts to move freely from one end of the settlement to the other. As the rovers have done much of the heavy construction prior to their arrival, it will not take the astronauts a long time to find routine in their new life, moving into carrying out valuable construction works and research.

But Who Would Go There?

Who are these people who would willingly sacrifice family, friends and all that they know on Earth to set up housekeeping some 57 million miles away?

You know, they get a one-way ticket.  They will never set foot on Earth again.  Once they saunter off into the inter-planetary void, there would be no stopping back at Christmastime or summer driving in the van to introduce the kids to their grandma and grandpa in another state.  No family camping trips or high school reunions.   No hugs and kisses from elderly aunts bearing fresh-baked sugar cookies.  Nada.

So would the only people who choose to go be social misfits or autism sufferers?

In the pool of 472 female and 586 male finalists, more than half are younger than 35; but 26 are older than 56.  The oldest applicant to advance to the next round is 81 years of age.  The United States is most heavily represented, with 297 contenders; Canada is second, with 75.

*     *      *     *      *

The 1955 movie Conquest of Space tells the story of a Martian expedition gone awry.  In the film, the spaceship’s captain is filled with religious remorse as the ship nears its destination.  It was wrong, he realizes, to try to reach Mars.

Though the captain is the mastermind behind the space station orbiting Earth, and although he hasn’t shown any interest in the Bible before, he grows more and more convinced that mankind wasn’t meant to venture forth to other planets.  The heavens are God’s abode, he worries, and it is sacrilege to breach His realm.

In Conquest of Space, that’s the source of the tension.  The captain regrets his decision to make the journey; his son, also on the ship, disagrees.  There’s a fight, a crash, a tough Martian winter, and the crew almost doesn’t make it back to Earth.

It’s science fiction, intended to spark the imagination.

Mars One sparks the imagination, too—but this time, it’s for real.  Is it right?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • James Patton

    Since the first water borne ships sailed, this has always been a question. I hope that those adventures don’t look at it as being wrong or right, but understand the purpose and reason for such a voyage.

    • Marie

      “don’t look at it as being right or wrong, but understand the purpose and reason”

      Well, okay, fair enough. But you’ve stopped short of sharing what you believe that purpose and reason to be.

      I’m interested in hearing your viewpoint as to why this is beyond the realm of right or wrong, but that does require you to actually *give* your viewpoint…

      • James Patton

        My perspective (not an adventurer) is that such missions are not technically possible. Everyone that is on this current list will not live to see Mars for themselves.

        As far as the morality of space exploration, that is not within the purview of scripture.

        • yan

          Why would it be immoral to explore God’s universe?

          • James Patton

            I wouldn’t know about immoral but amoral is how I view all scientific endeavors, including space exploration.

  • Howard

    I don’t think we’ll be able to get an astronaut to Mars alive within the next 30 years. The problems are pretty well known, but also very difficult to solve.

    I don’t even think we SHOULD go for 50, maybe 100 years. First, we need to make sure that there are no microbes on Mars. We need to identify the sources of methane in the Martian atmosphere; we need to drill down to the aquifer (in several places) and test the liquid water for life; we need to search near “recent” geological activity, where native microbes *might* be weathering minerals. Even once we’ve done that, we should not go “in person” until we are ready to colonize, and we won’t be ready to handle all of those obstacles until we have a practically unlimited supply of energy from fusion (which will probably take 50 to 100 years anyhow).

  • Mark W

    Yeah, I liked the Sirens of Titan too. And we all know how that turned out for the Martians.

  • LOL,I find all these sci-fi obsessed people to be so silly. First, who would want to spend eight months in a spaceship? And what would you do once you got to Mars? Those “homes” looks like a trailer park.

  • John Fisher

    Who cares! Idiots! how will they maintain ethnic and racial diversity? It will be like the story of the wreck of the Batavia.They will perish and die and that will be that! What will there religion be or will they be utopian atheists? This will not work without unity and coherence. Something that is very un PC.

  • I laughed at the title of this blog post….Earthlings… 🙂

  • yan

    Why go to Mt. Everest? Why go to Alaska? To Antarctica? Or the moon? Because that’s what we do.

  • Christine O

    Not only is it right but it is necessary for the long term survival of the human race. This is the fire step to the stars where we must go if we’re to exist when te sun is gone.

    • Christine O

      *first step that is 🙂

  • Simon

    Explorers of old went off to the far ends of the earth for fame, glory, conquest, riches etc.
    What would these new Martian explorer wannabes achieve by going to Mars on a one-way ticket? Even if they can physically survive the journey and subsequent life on Mars, can they survive mentally? It’ll be worse than being in a prison cell for the rest of your life.