Would you like to go to Mars — permanently?
There’s a nonprofit in the Netherlands called Mars One that’s working to establish permanent human life on Mars within the next few decades. So far they’ve been getting pretty good publicity.
They got a lot of media buzz around the world lately when they announced that they’ve trimmed their shortlist of prospective astronauts for the trip to 100 people.
You’ve guessed it. A Nigerian made the trim. His name’s Eromosele Ighodalo.
The trip to Mars will be a one way trip. This means the people who’re finally selected as astronauts for the trip will not come back and will live on that red planet for the rest of their lives.
202,586 people from over 140 countries applied for this stuff in 2013, all wanting to be the first humans to set foot on Mars and live there for life. From that first round the selection committee weeded the applications and picked their current 100. There’s now one more round to go.
In this final round happening later this year, the organisers will select six to ten teams of four candidates. But they’re not just going to fire up the machines and send off these people. They plan to train them full time for seven years to prep them for the really harsh life on that exotic planet.
Then one of these teams will make the trip as the first humans on Mars by the year 2024. This team of two men and two women will be the first batch and then the other batches will join them at subsequent intervals.
This Mars One journey to Mars is slated to take the astronauts seven months, and the interesting thing is the organisers plan to document every step of the crew’s journey for a reality TV show.
Seven months is a lot of time to spend on a trip. That’s right. But the thing is that Mars is about 55 million kilometres from here at its closest point. You know the distance between the earth and the moon is roughly 386,000 kilometres.
Mars One plans to spend $6 billion to have the first four people on Mars, and they forecast that they’ll raise the money from media rights and corporate sponsorship. This includes money for training, equipment, the actual trip and also the things necessary to sustain the astronauts on the planet for as long as possible.
They’re planning to do a reality TV show about this journey and they hope that if they can get billions of viewers worldwide like the Olympics does, then they can make a load of money to finance the project.
Apparently the main appeal for sending people to Mars is that mankind wants to go somewhere new and achieve something new. There’s this burning desire to continually accomplish something that’s new and seemingly impossible. We want to keep pushing the limits.
We’ve conquered the most dangerous oceans and mountains on earth. We’ve landed twelve people on the moon. So now we want to be able to take a ride from one planet to another. How does that sound to you?
Anyhow, astronomers think they’ve found evidence that imply that there used to be life on Mars a long time ago, and so they think it’s possible for them to make this happen again.
Travelling to Mars poses some serious risks though. It would expose the astronauts to high levels of radiation for instance and we simply don’t have the technology to successfully get humans to Mars and sustain them there.
However, the Mars One people are trying to whip up enough global appeal to make investors and sponsors put money on the table to make the trip happen.
Then maybe, just maybe Ighodalo and the other Martian wannabes can make history and live on the red planet happily ever after.
It’s kind of a storybook ending.