An organization named Mars One is the brainchild of Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, two Dutch guys who have put together a long-term plan to start a human settlement on Mars. They’ll be funding the project with donations, investors, and the sale of the media rights. They compare the funding plan to that of the Olympics. Interesting.
Astronaut selection begins next year, and those selected will undergo eight years of training. The four-person Mars Team One will launch in 2022 and arrive a year later. A number of unmanned cargo missions will have already arrived so the astronauts will touch down to find a number of capsules containing their living spaces and life support equipment waiting for them. Some assembly is required and batteries are included, in addition to the solar panels required to charge them. Additional cargo missions will be sent and the four-person Mars Team Two will arrive in 2025. The plan is not clear regarding how many teams will eventually be going.
The thing is, the Mars One mission plan does not include returning the astronauts to Earth. Brent Bambury of CBC Radio’s Day Six interviewed Bas Lansdorp, and he said,
The technology to get humans to Mars and keep them alive there exists. The technology to bring humans from Mars back to Earth simply does not exist yet.
The plan is not to simply abandon the explorers, however. They’ll be able to generate their own oxygen and water from the soil, and grow their own food. Of course it’s possible that things will go very wrong and everyone will die, but not necessarily. There’s no denying that it’s a dangerous undertaking.
But you know what? I’ve already signed up for the astronaut application newsletter. I have a few things working against me, however. Most specific requirements have not been determined yet, but one that has is astronaut height. Applicants must be between 157 and 190 cm tall. I haven’t been accurately measured in years, but I believe that I’m 190.5 cm tall. Also, the minimum age is 18, and while no maximum age has yet been determined, I’ll be in my sixth decade by the launch date. That can’t be a huge plus.
Still, I’d go if offered the chance, and I’d run (not walk) to take advantage of the opportunity. Can you imagine how amazing it would be?
Image and logo courtesy of the Mars One Project.