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We are actually sending people to Mars. And they don't ever get to come back.

Could that be you in there?

So a few days ago in the MM office, I made an offhand remark about the colonisation of Mars (I know that’s an odd thing to make an offhand remark about, but that’s just how I roll you guys). I had heard somewhere or seen something in my travels on the Interwebs that there is a plan to send a bunch of people to live on Mars, and those people NEVER GET TO COME HOME.

Anyway, I mentioned this in passing, and nobody believed me. “Yeah okay Rosie, don’t you have some double penises to write about? Is the Bachelor back on yet?” was the general sentiment in the room.

CHUMPS.

Determined to prove that my extensive knoweldge random factoid about Mars was correct, I went down a pretty epic Mars-colonisation intenet rabbit hole. And then proceeded to BLOW EVERYBODY’S MIND.

There is a mission to Mars planned. People are being sent to colonise the red planet. AND (drumroll please), those people don’t ever get to come home. This is not a futuristic dream – THIS IS HAPPENING NOW PEOPLE.

It’s called The Mars One Project. And it is a real thing. Let me break it down for you:

WTF? Shut the front door! Are you serious?

No I won’t shut the front door because yes, I am deadly serious. And so are the people at Mars One.

They are a not-for-profit Netherlands-based organisation hoping to establish a sustainable human settlement on Mars. They plan to send robots to set some stuff up (I’m thinking spa, pool table etc) in 2018. Then crews of four will head over, every two years, starting in the year 2024. Also, the whole thing is apparently going to filmed as part of a reality TV show.

The only problem is, they think they have the capacity to get people there, but they know they don’t have the capacity to bring people back. So whoever goes to Mars, is going to die on Mars. It’s a one-way ticket, baby.

Is this legit? Really?

Well, kind of. Yes. I think so. (Although, the first thing I noticed was that the website is kind of so-so. And if you can’t even build a flashy website, how are you going to get to Mars amiright?)

The Mars One Project is run by some legit-sounding people with fancy science educations. Lots of people called ‘Professor’. And if you look through the website you can see the words ‘astro-physicist’ and ‘Nobel Prize’ thrown around a bit so that’s promising. Although, I kept looking for a link to NASA or some kind of space program that I’ve heard of before – couldn’t find one.

Look at this fancy video:

How are they paying for all of this?

Through crowdfunding and donations. I’m guessing they need a lot. What’s it cost to get a toilet seat to Mars? 20 grand?

Who is actually going to Mars?

Randoms. Seriously, just randoms. Mars One opened applications to everyone on earth. And you’d think, given the whole ‘oh by the way, you never get to come home’ thing, they would be hard-pressed to find volunteers.

Wrong.

Almost TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND people applied to be part of the Mars One Project. Two hundred thousand people wanted pack up and leave this ol’ banged up planet and never come back.

Among the applicants were doctors, scientists, retail workers, mothers, fathers and a 24 year old girl hoping to escape her student loans. Literally – just anybody who wanted to go to Mars could apply. (And applications have closed, for those of you getting ideas.) Also interesting to note: Couples aren’t allowed to go together, because they want to avoid any interplanetary sexy-times happening. Good luck with that.

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Applicants had to submit a questionaire and video. Of the 200,000, only 1058 were selected for Round 2. Those applicants will be interviewed in person and have to undergo a medical exam.

Here’s an example of an application, if you want to take a look (but just type Mars One into YouTube, you’ll find a whole bunch):

Of those 1058, the final group of 40-50 will be selected (apparently by June this year). That group will immediately go into training to get ready for the 2024 launch date. Yeah – they’ll be in ‘training’ for 10 years. The training will include living in simulated Mars environments for months at a time, and, oh, learning how to fly a spaceship. You know, just easy stuff like that.

According to Buzzfeed, in the email sent to the applicants who made it to Round 2, they were told, “It’s time to talk with your loved ones regarding your dream of starting a human civilization on Mars. Passing the first round of selection is a major step closer to going down in history as one of the chosen few who will experience and live something that has never been done before.”

They were also told to get loud on social media, because “helping generate interest and funding in the Mars One mission is your first assignment.” So basically, they have to raise the money that will send them to their red prison new home.

But… What? Really? This is REALLY happening?

I know, I know. You can’t just fly to Mars, put up a tent and start growing flowers. I kept trying to find actual info about how it’s going to work. Like, actual logisitcs involved with landing on Mars and building a colony from scratch.

There’s something called ‘The Technology and Technical Feasibility’ section on the website, where they sort of answer questions about how it will actually work.But it does seem like (in my humble, ‘non-science background/write about viral internet content for a living’ opinion), that it’s all just pretty conceptual at the moment.

They seem to basing a lot of faith in these two robots that they’re sending up first. The robots are meant to build everything to be ready for the humans when they get there. But there are just so many opportunities for disaster there I don’t even know where to begin. The most obvious being that one of them accidently falls over and then gets stuck on its back like a sad turtle waving its legs in the air. WHAT HAPPENS IF ONE OF THE ROBOTS GETS STUCK ON ITS BACK LIKE A TURTLE?

Don’t know. But the designers don’t seem worried.

There are lots of fancy architectural renderings on the site of what they want the robots to build:

But I’m not sure if they know for certain if any of this will work until they actually have the money (and people) willing to try it out.

In a story on NPR, John Logsdon, the former director of the Space Policy Institute, has said that he thinks the idea is fantasy.

“It’s not clear what they would do when they get there except be there,” Logsdon says. “It’s not impossible, but I think it’s highly implausible.”

Wow. So… Wow.

Yeah, I know.

So there’s no real way of knowing if you’ll survive, you have to spend years working really hard helping robots build a mini-city with the constant risk of floating away like Sandra Bullock, and you never get to come home?

Yep. That’s pretty much it. And 200,000 people signed up for the chance.

Read more about the Mars One Project here.

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