Every child, at some point, wants to be an astronaut and explore outer space. MarsOne wants to turn that childhood dream into a reality.
MarsOne is a not-for-profit organization aiming to build a human settlement on Mars by 2023. Sound like a pipe dream? Not exactly. Headed by leading scientists and physicists from around the world, including former NASA employees, MarsOne has meticulously planned an entire decade to prepare for the launch of the Mars pioneers, including restricting themselves solely to existing technology and devising a sophisticated financial plan with leeway for mistakes. They’re convinced that it’s not only possible but practical.
The next step is finding the perfect pioneers to become the first humans to set foot on Mars. Before you jump on that bandwagon, take a second to learn the risks.
You shouldn't apply to MarsOne …
1. … if you don’t like taking risks:
It should be obvious, but this mission is incredibly risky. MarsOne members have admitted that the margin for error is close to zero — that means any technology failure, any unforeseen circumstance, or any human error probably results in irreversible mission failure and death.
2. … if you don’t like getting rejected:
Already, over 8000 people have expressed interest. The organization only plans to take 24 individuals after two years of tests, interviews, and personality inventories. Do the math, and the chances you’ll be selected are lower than .003%.
3. … if you don’t want to give up your entire life:
Since the only real prerequisites are a stable psyche and the ability to be a team player, if you are selected, you are going to learn all your survival skills during eight years of intensive training. A major part of training takes place in a harsh simulation environment, where you will be totally cut off from the world.
4. … if you don’t like getting to know others intimately:
If you are re-selected to be one of the four on the first Mars mission, be prepared to get really comfortable with the other three. They are now your family, your friends, your enemies, your acquaintances, your coworkers, and the only people you will interact with for decades.
5. … if you aren’t an extrovert:
You will never have a moment of privacy. Every single part of the process, from the astronaut selection to life on Mars, will be broadcast globally 24/7/365. This isn’t just a mission, it’s a media event, and you're the celebrity — without the perks of fame and fortune.
6. … if you get claustrophobic:
Traveling to Mars requires sharing a small rocket with your three companions. Space is tight, your schedule is strict, and there is little reference to any sense of time. Safety measures confine you to even smaller compartments if you pass through a space storm. Did I mention that the journey lasts eight months?
7. … if you don’t enjoy "roughing it":
MarsOne’s website states that astronauts will be able to live a “typical day-to-day” life on Mars, but that’s not entirely true. For one thing, living quarters are 50 square meters a person, slightly bigger than a hotel room. You must carefully grow your own food, and any outside excursion requires a bulky Mars Suit. Luxury will become a thing of the past.
8. … if you ever want to come back to Earth:
After two years of application, eight years of training, and constant affirmations from your crew, you’re probably pretty psyched to get to Mars. And maybe you find it exciting for the first two, five, ten years. But one of the reasons a Mars mission hasn’t been attempted before is that we don’t currently have the technology to launch a return rocket from Mars. The MarsOne mission is a one-way ticket.
If none of these deter you, then keep an eye out for the application, which should be coming out in the next few months. The rest of us will be eagerly awaiting updates from the comfort of planet Earth.