Some months ago the dutch engineer Bas Lansdorp announced the creation of Mars One, a project that plans to launch six groups of people (at the moment they announced that the crews will be composed by 4 people each). These groups will land every two years in order to be the first colonizers of the red planet. Suicide or vangardist mission? Just the time will tell us.
This project, opposed by the national space agencies will cost $6 billions (just 2 and a half times more than the Curiosity Rover project) and will be sponsored by a reality show which will permit the funding and the formation of the astronauts.
NASA, some years ago, planned a round-trip around Mars with the possibility to return to the Green Planet. Instead, Mars One offers a one-way-ticket to Mars. Yes, that’s it. The selected astronauts will stay permanently in the Red Planet without any possibility to go back to their mother planet. This possibility opens the possibility to study how the human mind reacts to the idea of never going back home (so the possibility to know if they’ll kill everyone and then suicide themselves or if they will be able to have a social behaviour that contradicts every other sociological study). Some scientists explains that this journey is comparable to Cristoforo Colombo’s one (the original name of the venetian whom discovered the Americas, after the Vikings) but I totally disagree. I believe that the Spanish or Portugueses that left for the American continent were moved from the desire to discover gold and silver with the recondite hope to go back to their households rich and wealthy. At the contrary, the crew travelling to Mars won’t come back and their just reason to leave eath is the discovery and the exploration of a new planet (with the future possibility to take possession of the entire planet and to divide the territories in feuds with martial slaves. Booyaka!).
The mission is structured in 4 steps. In 2016 they will launch supplies and a communication satellite. Then, in 2018, after the satellite scouts for a suitable site, settlements components will be launched. The further step will be the cast of additional supplies and two rovers which will prepare the settlement for the landing of the first human in 2023 (the fourth and “final” step).
But how Mars One will be able to pay for all this. There are two ways for financing the mission. Firstly they will get financements from corporate sponsorships but the big news is that they will organize a Big Brother-like reality show in order to select the astronauts. This reality show will have two main puroposes. The first one, clear at everyon’s eyes is to obtain funding. The second one will be to test the future voyagers to a life under the cameras (yes, they will be guinea pigs in socialogical terms). This mission will be a space Edtv organized in a way that won’t allow the protagonists to leave the main stage.
The expectations are big and the endorsers are science-starts (the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft is extremely enthusiast about it). The big question is: will this dream become reality and the people able to create a real facility like the one created by Paul Verhoven in Total Recall or Mars One will result a complete failure in which the astronauts will abandon their rationality leaving the place to desesperation and madness?