Science Magazine

Astronauts Needed for Mars Colony

Posted on the 10 January 2013 by Ningauble

Do you look at the night sky and wish you had an opportunity to live on another planet? Do you have Curiosity’s naked pictures all over your bedroom wall?

Well, then I have really good news for you.

Mars One, a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, hopes to establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023.

They need astronauts.

Anyone can apply if they meet the basic requirements. Unfortunately, the job isn’t for just anyone.

MarsOne2025

The project recently released its guidelines for potential applicants, and they’re pretty vague. So long as you’re over 18, resilient, adaptable, curious, creative and resourceful and “have a deep sense of purpose”, “willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships” and “the capacity for self-reflection,” you have a shot. You’ll also need to be willing to dedicate eight years of your life to training for the journey. Mars One plans to fund the mission by making it a reality TV show, in the “biggest media spectacle in history” with help from Mars One ambassador Paul Römer, co-creator of the globally successful Big Brother reality TV show. Everyone will get to watch the astronauts make their journey, and also choose which candidate gets to go (as in the Big Brother).

“Mars One is an extraordinarily daring initiative by people with vision and imagination,” says Mars One Ambassador and physics Nobel prize winner Gerard ‘t Hooft. “This project seems to me to be the only way to fulfill dreams of mankind’s expansion into space.”

The selection process will begin during the first half of 2013. Mars One experts and viewers of a “global, televised program”  will choose from among the applications. Those ultimately selected will be assembled into teams of four. At least six teams are supposed to be ready to launch in September 2022.

Only one team will make the first trip to the Red Planet.

 

 

The plan:

2013: Crowdsourced selection of first four astronauts; a replica of the Mars settlement built in the desert to help the astronauts prepare and train, and to test the equipment — all carried on TV.

2014: Production of the first Mars communication satellite.

2016:  Supply mission launched for Mars — to land October 2016 with its cargo: 2500 kilograms of food.

2018: Robotic exploration vehicle lands on Mars to pick best location for the settlement.

2021: Two living units, two life support units, a second supplies unit and another rover create a habitable settlement.

2022: Liftoff on the future SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy.

2023: Landing on a lander built by SpaceX, likely a special variant of the Dragon capsule.

2025: Second group of four astronauts lands.

 

At least eight years of training will be provided before launch, including simulated missions, practice in a restricted mobility environment, and lessons in electronics, equipment repair, basic and critical medical care. In 2016, the company plans to begin rocketing supplies to Mars, including spare parts, two rovers, and living units that can be assembled into a base once humans arrive.

But it’s a one-way trip for all involved: Once on Mars, there’s no coming back.

Well, it’s definitely tempting for me.

 

N.


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