Sure, the idea has tremendous allure: pick a group of random and possibly strange humans, send them to a faraway untouched planet, and record the whole thing for the entertainment of Earthlings. The "Mars One" reality show intends to do exactly this. The problem? Science isn't on their side...
Since the announcement went out in 2012, seeking Martian colonists (all of whom were required to pay an application fee to even be considered), fascination has followed the project. Can we really have humans live on Mars? Won't they have to be tremendously skilled and resourceful (not just some weirdos cast for reality show drama?) Why hasn't NASA, the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, or any of Earth's other space programs attempted this?
The answer is simple: it just can't happen yet. Our best science still says it's too significant a stretch.
|One massively improbable step for a man, |
one brutal televised faceplant for mankind (if they even get that far.)
(Image courtesy subscribe.ru.)
According to MNN.com, a serious scientist has had enough of the Mars One shenanigans. Dr. Joseph Roche, a Ph.D in physics and astrophysics and a professor at Trinity College's School of Education in Dublin, was selected as one of the 100 finalists, but says the "selection" was really propelled by contestants purchasing Mars One merchandise. Roche claims that the Mars One team plans to raise their necessary $6 billion rocket ticket via "T-shirts, hoodies, and posters," as well as from the aspiring astronauts who should "kindly donate 75 percent of their speaking fees back to the organization."
If the moon was really fabricated from fermented curd, as lore states, maybe this organization should have gone there instead, because their astro-business tactics are massively cheesy.
|Even cheesier than this image. Seriously, $6 billion from t-shirts and talks?|
(Image courtesy cosmoquest.org.)
The Mars One mission timeline puts them on Mars in a decade. Yet no habitation pods have been sent up and parachuted in from orbit, no robots (other than NASA's rovers) have been airlifted in to scout specific terrain (let alone start terraforming or doing anything for forward-thinking fortifications), no major water sources have been identified for supply, and even rocket technology isn't on-point enough for a mission that'd take months just to arrive at the destination.
Not to mention the humans. It's already been established that whoever gets sent up will stay there...but these aren't people who are going to pioneer an empire. The selected candidates who've been shown to the public are not brilliant biologists, chemists, geologists, medical doctors, botanists, or even actual astronauts. Even less brilliant is their CEO, Bas Lansdorp, who is anticipating that his little red wagon-train will be "worth up to 10 Olympic Games' [worth] of media revenue, which is $45 billion."
|That's about as likely as getting greeted by these guys. Although that is probably how aliens would feel.|
(Image courtesy artaksyonova.wordpress.com)
So by 2025, will Mars One's project just be one very expensive movie set, or will they actually make a go of Martian migration? The failure will likely fall not too far in the future. Make no mistake, Mars is a tempting target for research and maybe even a remote outpost...but not on "made for TV" terms.
You don't have to take our word for it. Actual scientists at MIT already did the math, and assuming all went inexplicably, irrationally well, the Mars One team would still likely live under 70 days once they landed. Maybe we should just stick to reality shows about people doing weird competitions in the jungle, or guys who yell at people to make bars and kitchens nicer. Sure, it's not Shakespeare, but at least they're not scamsters who sling sketchy science for spoils.
|Even if we did successfully colonize, this perturbing problem remains. |
STILL WANNA GO?
(Image courtesy zmescience.com.)