I read this article about people applying to travel to Mars… and stay there for good !! It sounds like some Sci-Fi movie minus the aliens of course!
The whole project is called Mars One. Their aim is to establish human settlement in Mars by 2023. There were around 100,000 applications for the one-way trip to Mars according to CNN. Initially seeing the immense response from people from different parts of world applying for it, I have to say my fingers too itched to get myself registered. I mean imagine you are one of the first settlers in Mars !!!
According to the MarsOne project
Before the applicants leave the Earth’s atmosphere to travel to Mars, each astronaut will be put through the required eight years of training. They will be isolated from the world for a few months every two years in groups of four in simulation facilities, to learn how they respond to living in close quarters while isolated from all humans except for the three crew members. In addition to the expertise and work experience they must already possess, they have to learn quite a few new skills: physical and electrical repairs to the settlement structures, cultivating crops in confined spaces, and addressing both routine and serious medical issues such as dental upkeep, muscle tears and bone fractures. Courtesy – MarsOne
The MarsOne projects states below on the Journey to Mars
The flight will take between seven to eight months (depending upon the relative positions of the Earth and Mars). The astronauts will spend those seven months together in a very small space—much smaller than the home base at the settlement on Mars—devoid of luxury or frills. This will not be easy. Showering with water will not be an option. Instead the astronauts make do with wet towelettes (wet wipes) as used by astronauts on the International Space Station.
Freeze dried and canned food is the only option. There will be constant noise from the ventilators, computer and life support systems, and a regimented routine of 3 hours daily exercise in order to maintain muscle mass. If the astronauts are hit by a solar storm, they must take refuge in the even smaller, sheltered area of the rocket which provides the best protection, for up to several days.
The journey will be arduous, pressing each of them to the very limits of their training and personal capacity. But the astronauts will endure because this will be the flight carrying them to their dream.
As I dug into this information, I am having this unsettling feeling. Why ?
Imagining living in these trailers or spaceship your entire life?
The MarsOne projects states below about the living conditions on Mars
Once they arrive on Mars, the astronauts will begin making use of their relatively spacious living units; over 50 m2 per person, and a total of more than 200 m2 combined interior space.
Within the settlement are inflatable components which contain bedrooms, working areas, a living room and a ‘plant production unit’, where they will grow greenery. They will also be able to shower as normal, prepare fresh food (that they themselves grew and harvested) in the kitchen, wear regular clothes, and, in essence, lead typical day-to-day lives.
If the astronauts leave the settlement, they have to wear a Mars Suit. However, all living spaces are connected by passageways, in order for the astronauts to move freely from one end of the settlement to the other. As the rovers have done much of the heavy construction prior to their arrival, it will not take the astronauts a long time to find routine in their new life, moving into carrying out valuable construction works and research.
The risk and challenges of the mission in my opinion
- It is a one-way trip to an unstable environment
- No privileges like fresh air, birds chirping or even morning newspaper
- You are on your own and no family around you
- Your morning walk outside will be in a Mars Suit
- If you are out of resources, there will be no groceries or supermarkets to run to
A few questions on
- How would you regulate the population ?
- Who will be continuously funding the project ?
- What if the expense is more than the budget ?
- How much time would it take any urgent need to be acknowledged ?
According to Mars One project,
They have developed a detailed risk analysis profile which guides both its internal technical development as well as the relationships it builds with its aerospace suppliers. This risk analysis profile will continue to evolve and improve over the years prior to the first humans walking on the planet Mars.
My worst fear is that the risk analysis calculates an approximation of unpredictability but cannot detect one.
I truly feel that the scientists are experimenting with a huge batch of guinea pigs !!