Tired of the same old view? Looking for a new challenge in your life? How about a trip to Mars? Returning – Never.
Yes. Dutch company Mars One has narrowed the search for the first Mars goers down to 100 people. To earn the chance at the right to go, these people created applications and paid a $38 fee (if applying from the US) that will go toward the $6 billion cost of the mission. Details of the mission budget are not available to keep the competition from an inside view, but the until-now most expensive Mars mission cost $2.5 billion.
Still. The idea has some merit. Mars Once plans to make the trip in 2022. The crew will arrive on Mars in 2023. They will arrive via a commercial rocket such as those in use by SpaceX. Their rockets have already made two successful cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
Before any of the one-way passengers gets onboard, there will have been eight trips to deliver supplies. The first of these will land on Mars as soon as 2015. Plans call for the colony to receive additional members over the years. Each flight will carry two men and two women who are not couples. It is hoped that some Mars babies will result. As for the no-trip home part of the ride, that’s to keep costs down. How members of the new colony will dispose of the dead is up to the colonists.
More than 200,000 people applied for a place on the project. It’s now down to 50 men and 50 women.
They come from many countries and backgrounds. The reasons they give for making the trip include inspiring those who remain on Earth, participating in the greatest adventure of this generation, and leading the way for those who will follow.
The next step is for 40 people to take part in seven years of training. Ultimately, 24 people who are judged to have the psychological skills to face whatever Mars throws at them will make the trip. It’s going to be an incredible journey. Undoubtedly other companies will follow suit. Are you up for the ride?
Gina Hagler is a freelance writer and published author who covers science, technology, health, climate change, bubbles, and species survival–among other topics. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). She is also the author of Sammi’s New Normal: The Storybook Illustrated Guide to Epilepsy. You’ll find more of her work at www.ginahagler.com.