Big Brother on Mars!
Stepping into the vacuum this Friday, a brand new private space venture from the Netherlands called Mars One aims to send four astronauts on a one-way journey to Mars in just 11 years time, NBC reported.
Founded by Dutch entrepreneur and researcher Bas Lansdorp, who previously headed up an alternative energy company, Mars One says it will establish a colony on Mars by 2023, according to the Mars One website.
The company also released 3 steps it would like to take to lead up to its creation of a colony in Mars.
Step one: send a communications satellite to Mars in 2016.
Step two: follow up with a Red Planet rover in 2018, which will trawl the dusty landscape, scoping out some of the best spots to found a colony.
Step three, in 2020: send infrastructure for the colonists to live in, including solar panels and machines that will convert the Martian elements into water and oxygen.
Only then, on the surprisingly specific date of September 14, 2022, will Mars One launch its first four astronauts. Their journey to the new colony will take ten months, though they will have been preparing for a decade.
Lansdorp plans to send another couple of adventurous astronauts to join the colony every two years, but the idea is that no one gets a return journey. This is a permanent base, a Plymouth Rock in an entirely new world that will begin the long, slow and painstaking process of terraforming it.
The company is reportedly planning to start a reality TV show that will transmit to the world, the days of the astronauts right from the beginning when they start preparing for their journey on planet earth to their new daily lives on Mars.
‘’Media Spectacle’’ is the company’s two-word answer to questions raised about funding. Landsorp said on a recent public statement ‘’The process we assume will cost 6 billion dollars but us turning this into a live media journey will help fund the project.'' Wouldn’t Coca-Cola want to be the first coke on Mars?
Some experts, however approach, the issue more critically. Chris Welch from Strausbourg İnternational Space University commented on Lansdorp’s plans saying ‘’It is possible to get oxygen on Mars but it is hard to be sure about this. You can send people to Mars, but it’s a hard issue to keep them alive. Technically, the possibility of success is 50 %’’
Another scientist that approached the issue critically was Jorge Vargo who is responsible for ExoMars, a Mars project in Europe Space Agency. Commenting on the MarsOne project he stated that the turbulence on the planet made it impossible for two space shuttles to land on the same spot and added ‘’even if the living capsules land 20 km apart from each other the mission will be very hard to accomplish. Also small particles sent off from the sun by explosion could result in the death of the astronauts before they could even get to Mars.‘’
MarsOne manager Gerard Blaauw, however, is dedicated: ‘‘We are bringing media and space together. Mars One will definitely be a program worth watching.’’