The Mars One mission is a non-profit group that seeks to begin human colonization of Mars. they plan to do this by landing teams of four on the Red Planet to form a permanent human settlement beginning in 2024.
Last week, 202,586 applicants for the Mars One mission were whittled down to 100 hopefuls who, if selected, will never return to Earth after they leave.
Whilst I think it’s awesome that they are trying this, I also think it’s a stupid idea that’s never going to work. We just aren’t ready to pull something like this off yet.
The Mars One Mission
Their plan is elaborate. In short, they plan to launch the first unmanned mission in 2018. In 2020, a rover will land on Mars to seek out the best spot for a settlement. Six cargo missions will launch in 2022. Once everything’s together, the first human crew will leave for Mars in 2024.
To pay for everything, the project has secured private investors and has plans to film the whole thing and turn it into a reality TV show for extra cash. Sure, it’s better than putting people in a jungle or a house for a couple of months, but people would be much more interested if they launched some irritating celebrities into space rather than random strangers. Imagine if Biber, the cast of Geordie Shore and the Kardashian’s launched themselves into space along with Kanye who could fuel the rocket with his ego.
Needless to say that if they want to pull this off, careful planning and attention to detail will be vital. It might seem trivial, but they haven’t even got their act together enough to properly crop the images of their candidates on their website. If they can’t get this right, how do they expect to wrangle the laws of physics to be able to land a manned spaceship on Mars without it exploding?
A one way trip to Mars, what could possibly go wrong?
Have you ever even watched a movie about space? Instead of questioning what could go wrong, we need to ask what could possibly go right. Star Trek, Farscape, Interstellar; those true stories prove that nobody who travels long distances in space has a peaceful trip. There are so many reasons this Mars One mission could go horribly wrong.
With current rocket technology, it takes between seven and nine months to reach Mars. That’s a long time to be trapped inside a tiny airtight spacecraft along with the farts of 3 other people. Assuming that the life support can sustain them for long enough, they could quite possibly lose their minds and kill each other.
Mars One says it can land the first crew for $6 billion, a cost that includes all the hardware, operational expenditures, and margins. Having done the mission once the price will drop to $4 billion for every subsequent flight. That means going into space is at least as expensive as buying 10 Apple products.
Sure, they have investors and a plan to film the whole thing and turn it into a reality TV show for extra cash, but how long are people really going to watch for. Assuming they reach Mars, once the money runs out there are going to be a group of people stuck on another planet with no support.
As of February 28 2015, the total amount of donations Mars One has received is about $759,816. That’s a little over 0.01% of its $6 billion budget.
I guess they could always whore themselves out to corporate sponsorship. I can just imagine the ship plastered with logos and branding like a Formula One car.
The technology to achieve this mission doesn’t even exist right now. Even NASA says it is decades away from being able to mount a Mars expedition so chances are that something is going to go wrong technically and they will be stuck in the vacuum of space.
I know Top Gear kind of half successfully launched a car into the air like a spaceship, but I doubt that a car, some rockets and a couple of computers hooked together running Windows 8.1 is going to get them into space. Do I need to mention their website again?
Then what happens when shit breaks? The 100 finalists were selected largely for their personalities and willingness to work with others. They aren’t necessarily scientists, engineers or doctors, but the crew will still have to maintain and repair their habitats and possibly themselves while learning to live off the Martian land.
At least on earth when you run out of food you can just pop out to a takeaway, but despite the insane globalisation of the McDonalds brand, they haven’t build one on another planet yet. That means when things go wrong and the food runs out they’re going to go hungry.
Maybe McDonalds could step in with a corporate sponsorship?
Humans need water to survive and to get water on Mars they are going to have to recycle it over and over again. Imagine drinking a glass of water that you know has been drank then pissed back out by your housemates 500 times and you see the problem. If they run out of water then they’re stuffed.
Like water, air is essential for survival. These guys are planing on starting a civilisation on Mars, not just going there until their air supply runs out in a few weeks.
Imagine spending the rest of your life talking to the same few people about the same stuff. Now remember that they are making a reality TV show out of this therefore the people are going to be annoying… like really annoying.
At least on Big Brother and the like, the contestants know that their time together is finite.
No more outside
Outside isn’t a thing on Mars because humans can’t breathe the air therefore forcing them to wear spacesuits. That means they will never experience fresh air or the sunlight hitting their skin ever again. Ever. After a couple of years they will be longing to walk through anywhere with fresh air, even Chernobyl.
It could happen!
Forever on a red rock
Assuming they make it and survive the initial fight over terrain with the aliens, what are they going to do next? Once the initial excitement of reaching the planet settles down, they are literally going to be looking at a barren red rock for the rest of their lives.
There will be no entertainment, no animals, no sport, no swimming, nothing that remotely resembles an interesting life. They will be stuck eating the same food forever. Talking to the same people forever. Life is going to get pretty boring, pretty quickly.
As I said at the start, I really do hope that it happens and that they get to Mars. However, I think I’m happy to just stay on Earth where there’s water, food, air, and plenty of people…
If you want read a more intelligent summary of why the Mars One Mission won’t work, Business Insider wrote a brilliant article. It’s also worth checking out this article about why it won’t happen any time soon.