Some folks claim they have a plan to establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023. Apparently the idea is that they will build things first so that a habitable settlement will be waiting for the settlers when they land, and that the settlement will support them while they live and work on Mars for the rest of their lives. (Yes, a one way ticket). Then, every two years after 2023, an additional crew will arrive, such that there is a real living, growing community on Mars. They call themselves “Mars One” and have announced that they have created a technical plan for this mission that is as simple as possible. For every component of the mission they claim to have identified at least one potential supplier.
They are serious and it is not NASA. OK, so who has this grand plan?
Wait … who!!! … This just has to be a PR stunt, right? Perhaps, but it claims to be a serious proposal, and yes my skeptic alarm bells are clanging away, so I’m gathering up some details and then tossing this out to see what others make of it.
What have they got so far?
- They have writer Mary Roach, author of “Packing for Mars” backing them. She has agreed to become an ambassador of Mars One. (I suspect she simply wants to sell her book)
- They have been working on this grand plan in secret since … (wait for it) … 2011.
- They plan to use the Falcon 9 Heavy lifter for the mission to Mars, a launcher built by SpaceX … and of course a Space X lander, apparently a Dragon capsule variation. Also, Paragon Space Development will produce their Mars Suits. Their list of suppliers is here.
- They have a plan
- They reckon they can do it for just $6 Billion. Apparently they will fund it by making it the biggest media spectacle in history.
Want to sign up? … oh wait, before you do, it is a one way ticket, nobody comes back, and apparently absolutely anyone is free to apply for the job (Yep this really reaks, something a tad fishy about that)
No expense has been spared, they even have sufficent funding to roll out a YouTube clip, so it must be credible… right?
- Essentially their business model is to have a TV show sort of like “Big Brother”. It leads me to wonder what happens if the ratings dip and the show is cancelled, or even worse, they get there and then the show goes bankrupt
- Do they just leave the folks there to die?
- Do they attempt to boost ratings by perhaps letting the public vote on who to toss out the airlock?
- You seriously think that letting the public choose who gets to go is the best idea?
- You can see it now, the cute blond 20 something gets to go because she is happy to take off her top on demand, and the geeky engineer gets bounced in the first round.
- One word … radiation. No really, how do they plan to solve that problem?
- Well, I guess it is supposed to be a one way trip
- Mars is bloody cold, surface temperatures vary from lows of about −87 °C (−125 °F) during the polar winters to highs of up to −5 °C (23 °F) in summer, so never mind growing stuff, how do they expect to keep warm, a camp fire perhaps?
- The food goes up in 2016, but nobody arrives to eat it until 2023 … (ugh!)
- The green screen reflecting in the astronaut’s visor the whole time in their YouTube clip just fills you with confidence regarding their grasp of technology
- (Big Brother voice) … “Day 236 on Mars, Tom is still in the habitat with the others staring out at the barren desolate landscape wondering if today will be like the previous 235 days … nowhere to go and nothing to do”.
What do I really think? I think they have a plan to have a cool TV show and make a lot of $$$ from it, but I do not think they actually plan to do it. This is all being backed by, Paul Romer, the chap who gave us “Big Brother”, so it feels like more of the same, but with a different spin to suck the audience into a fantasy.
Here is how it might play out (This is the part where I speculate)
- They run it as the real deal, and get folks to sign up.
- They filter that number down to those that are truly suggestible
- We get to watch as they “Big Brother” style go through training
- We get to vote on who goes.
- When the big day arrives, we get let in on the secret – they are not really going. We watch as they get strapped into a simulator, and giggle as the final four blast off for Mars, then get to watch them as to journey (in the simulator Truman show style) all the way to Mars and land.
It would make a heck of a lot of $$$ and would indeed draw in a vast audience if they could pull it off and convince the four they really were doing it. This is why you need the final four to be folks who are suggestible … “Oh we have new Gravity simulation technology so during the journey you will feel 1 G of earth like gravity” … some could indeed be persuaded to buy into it and be sold on the simulator being reality, all you need to do is to start with a credible bit of PR spin. Once you have them inside the tin can, the rest of us get let in on the secret.
So what do you think, is my take on this wrong? Think about it now … the guy who gave us Big Brother is behind this, hence my wild speculation just might perhaps be the most credible solution.
I can only see two options here …
- Crazy kooks
- TV Show that cons some into thinking it is real
I’m not giving any credence to it being real.