Post: December 3, 2014
Okay, I get it. I understand. I can imagine traveling to the south of France to the French Riviera to the Cote d’Azur and living there, permanently.
I can imagine and understand getting a beach house in the small beautiful semi-secluded beach community of Hana on Maui in Hawaii and moving there, living there, permanently.
What I CAN NOT understand is riding in a tin can spacecraft for a transit time of, plus or minus, 260 days, 9 months, landing on the planet Mars with no breathable air, no vegetation and no grocery stores and living there permanently.
But that is what the non-profit corporation Mars One is suggesting that the human race buys into for its first scheduled launch of four pioneers on or about the year 2025. Mars One estimates a cost of about 6 billion for the transport and living equipment costs for the first four settlers. And every 2 years when Mars is on close approach to orbit with planet Earth another four settlers will travel to Mars at a follow-on cost of about 4 billion dollars. That’s one billion USD per passenger. Where the money for that is going to come from I really don’t know.
As a writer of Science Fiction and an avid space travel advocate all my life I am all for both man and unmanned space exploration from whatever country attempts that lofty goal. But, in my opinion, I think Mars One may just be a bit too far out on a limb. But, I may be wrong, I don’t think so, but I have my doubts. However, 200,000 people have already signed up with 705 potential astronaut/cosmonaut settlers being considered to be one of the first four to attempt this permanent settlement on Mars.
I would like to ask several generic questions about this mission. I will answer my own questions but I want you to consider how you would answer as well.
First of all, you are not coming back home to Earth, at least that’s the plan. Mars will be your home for however short or long you live. When we recently moved to our new home in Northern Arizona we considered air quality, quality of life, commercial-retail infrastructure, environment, entertainment, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, doctors, hospitals and other health care infrastructure. So my first very important question is: If you get sick on Mars or have a medical emergency that requires a surgeon, internist, gynecologist, or, God forbid, an oncologist, where do you go on Mars for those services?
Second, ever try freshly picked Dole Butter lettuce with the roots still intact? Delicious. That lettuce form factors lasts many days longer than iceberg lettuce. If you like hydroponic vegetables, you are in luck in Mars habitation strutures. But I love Chicken Kiev, or Ribeye Steak or a nice piece of fresh wild salmon. Question, are there Safeway grocery stores on the surface of Mars? Well, what about freeze dried…whatever? I can’t imagine living off an endless supply (maybe not so endless) of freeze dried food. There is nothing for breakfast like a fresh baguette of French bread just out of the oven topped with a dab of fresh sweet butter.
Third, I am guessing that most of the applicants are young. Hormones are surging and the natural drive to mate will be strong. Even with the old farts who sign up, having a loving partner seems to be a fairly basic human need. You have vivid imaginations so you can fill in the blank with the question and the answers and the vast number of possibilities for mating solutions and requirements.
Ya see where I am going with all of this? Just think of how you roll through your everyday life to determine what solutions may have to occur on Mars for the settlers cooped up in shipping-like containers throughout their life spans.
Tonight, a Pacific Ocean storm has swept in and over California and has moved to our 5,000 elevation mountain chain where we live. I just stepped inside from listening to rain gently splashing on our patio. The air was cool but it was sweet. I would miss that.
I can remember a recent trip to the nearby Grand Canyon and standing at rim at sunset staring down into that beautiful pallet of reds and browns as the sun cast its final golden glow. I would miss that.
This afternoon we came back from a shopping trip and an early lunch. Watching the people laughing, talking, interacting with each other…I would miss that.
I know there are individuals who love to live alone near the Arctic Circle or in small habitations on the Sahara Desert or the Gobi Desert. I understand that there are some individuals who would rather live alone. But in a Mars One you would not be alone. Privacy, yeah right. Food selection and freshness, yeah right. The ability to step outside of a home at sunrise and smell the freshness of the air and the sweetness of a nearby blooming jasmine bush…while you are encased in an airtight pressurized space suit…ALL THE TIME?
This is where I think Mars One will contribute. They do have sponsors. They do have a noble vision. But I think that vision, that work, that research to prepare for that first mission will be repurposed in Mars settlements that are temporary where crews are rotated in and out on a regular bi-annual time frame. That is what I think will be the greatest contribution for the Mars One venture. And for that I wish them the best of luck.
You can find more information about Mars One at: www.mars-one.com
You can find more information about me and my books at: www.frederickfichman.com
I’m gonna leave this post up for awhile longer…I just saw this great article posted up by the New York Times just a short while ago. This may help add to the discussion about this Mars One proposed (suicide?) mission: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/a-one-way-trip-to-mars-many-would-sign-up/ar-BBgvzT2?ocid=iehp