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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2554

Mars One Project: One Way Trip to Mars

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

Mars one, the brainchild of a Dutch entrepreneur which lays the necessary groundwork for settling a colony of thrill-seeking earthlings on Planet Mars in nine years’ time – precisely in 2024 – is gathering momentum at present, in proportion to the excitement shown by the would-be participants across the globe.

Bas Lansdorp, the man behind the inter-planetary expedition, is fiercely optimistic that he will achieve his goal, despite being at the receiving end of the vitriolic barrage of meteorites, coming down from the comical equivalent of asteroid belt.

For instance, a British tabloid columnist branded him as a ‘Martian’ himself, citing the failure of Mr Lansdorp to give a straight answer to an equally straight question. The columnist in question has noted the lack of urgency on Mr Lansdorp’s part to kick off the project, in spite of the inevitable logistical nightmare to getting it off the ground on Planet Earth, let alone to landing on Mars.

Mars One, launched in 2013, grabbed global attention this week, when Mr Lansdorp and the team announced the long list of first 100 lucky people, who would be landing on the Red Planet; they are from all walks of life, a real global mix.

Apart from landing on Mars, some participants have their own seondary goals. Maggie Lieu, an astrophysics student from University Birmingham in England, for instance, looks forward to having a baby on Mars, the first real Martian – a true global citizen with no race or national issues, as there are no countries on Mars yet.

According to Mr Lansdorp, Mars One will send 4 people to Mars in 2024, and then another four in 2026, with the whole process being repeated at regular intervals.

While speaking to a journalist of the Daily Mail, Mr Lansdorp has addressed the issue of health and safety of the would-be settlers, which inevitably stems from the very nature of the one-way trip: “They already have a lower likelihood of disease, will eat healthy food and can’t be hit by a car. So unless some tragic accident happens on Mars, which would reduce life expectancy, they’ll probably be older than average humans on Earth.”

The pioneers of Mars One project are planning to train about 24 individuals from 2016 to 2024 for the life on Mars, while providing them with technical skills, repairing skills and of course, farming skills.

At the outset, Mars One is going to cost at least $6 billion with a possibility of taking an exponential upward trend immediately afterwards, when many unidentified factors started coming into play. With just a collection of $400,000 in funds, it would be a Herculean task, rather than that of Martian, for the managers of the highly ambitious project to silence the critics, who are hell bent on highlighting the funding challenge.

Those of us who wanted to watch how the colonists adapt themselves on the Red Planet, however, are going to be disappointed, according to Mr Lansdorp: there will not be live telecast like Kardashians on MTV; on the contrary, there will be Cricket-style highlights for us.

The cynics wasted no time in grabbing the move to highlight the potential for faking the whole drama in a studio. After all, there are a significant number of Americans, who still stubbornly refuse to believe that NASA landed men on the Moon.

At present, the biggest challenge against the project comes from the scientists, who scoff at the whole mission. Their in-depth analysis of the whole mission equates it to a passport to collective suicide with plenty of glamour.

Neither ridicule nor lack of funds is going to deter Mr Lansdorp from popularizing his Mars One project. The sheer number of participants, despite the risks associated with the project not only on Mars, but on Planet Earth too, speaks volumes about its power to shore up the enthusiasm among the folks who love adventure.

- Asian Tribune -

Mars One Project: One Way Trip to Mars
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