Friday, August 3, 2012

Is There Life On Mars?

To answer David Bowie's long-sung question, yes: there may well be Life On Mars soon!
A Dutch company has plans to send humans there. But before you think about signing up for this Richard Branson-type adventure, be advised you won't be coming back! EVER! This ticket is strictly one-way only.
Home Sweet Home...Bowie-style
Mars One is the company behind this planned mission. Its founder, Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, says money for the trip will come from a "global media spectacle"... hmmm.
The plan is to send a number of humans to live on Mars indefinitely by 2023. First it plans to send out a communications satellite in 2016, with a rover being dispatched in 2018 to find a suitable location for a settlement. Once the company finds a suitable site, it'll send out settlement units to Mars in 2020, which the existing rover will then set up. Once the cosy little hamlet is established, Mars One hopes to send a small crew that would leave Earth in December 2022, and arrive on the Red Planet in April 2023.
But first, willing participants need to be found. Mars One plans to hold a worldwide "lottery" to select 40 people to join this daring scheme. This chosen 40 will spend time at a specialist training facility, where they'll be whittled down to a crew of ten. This team will go to Mars and live there for "the rest of their lives".
If you're interested in helping establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars, you'll have wait until next year for the so-called global "lottery" to take place.
Doesn't this sound a LOT like 'reality TV in space'? And how will be those settlers survive? They sure won't be able to grow crops. Or does 'one-way trip' mean 'you're on your own'? Will Bas keep sending regular supplies once the media novelty has worn off? After all, one can only survive for a limited time on Mars Bars!

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