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Mars Colonization Mission Now Taking Applications

| 23 Apr 2013 21:55

Mars One is looking for would-be colonists for a one-way journey to Mars in 2023.

One of the biggest challenges facking any mission to Mars is the return trip. Getting there isn't really a big deal as these things go, but getting home is a different story. The obvious solution is also the one that almost nobody is willing to even consider: a one-way voyage. Send people off to get the party started, and leave them there.

The Netherlands-based Mars One is willing to consider it, however, and not just that. The not-for-profit organization is now accepting applications from wanna-be astronauts willing to make the journey, and because of the nature of the mission it's not necessarily looking for the typical lantern-jawed, best-of-the-best, "Right Stuff" kind of guys; instead, it's after people who are creative, highly adaptable and, most important of all, unlikely to kill each other after months and years cooped up together in a tiny space.

"A grounded, deep sense of purpose will help each astronaut maintain his or her psychological stability and focus as they work together toward a shared and better future," the Mars One site states. "Mars One cannot stress enough the importance of an applicant's capacity for self-reflection. Without this essential foundation, the five key characteristics listed below cannot be utilized to the fullest potential."

Those five "key characteristics" are resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, creativity/resourcefulness and the ability to trust. Applicants must also be 18 years of age or older, in good physical and mental health - disease-free, good eyesight, no drug dependencies, that sort of thing - and stand between 5'1" and 6'2". Applications may be made in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Korean, Indonesian or Japanese, but the official mission language will be English, which successful candidates will be expected to learn as their training progresses.

The first launch team, currently planned to go in September 2022, will comprise only four members in order to keep the cost and complexity of the mission at a manageable level. Multiple four-person groups will be trained, however, and given the long term, close quarters and intensity of the mission training, if even just one member of the team decides to leave the program at any time, the whole team will be removed from rotation, with remaining members given the option of restarting the training from the very beginning with a new member. The first colonist group will be joined by new teams every two years.

As ridiculous and crazy as it sounds, there's a certain look of legitimacy to the Mars One website and its program doesn't come across as entirely insane. The mission plan is vague but detailed enough to sound convincing, and the decision to use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy for the trip, a modified version of the Falcon 9 rocket that's already successfully put the Dragon spacecraft into orbit, makes sense; SpaceX plans to begin test flights of the Falcon Heavy this year and has provided Mars One with a letter of interest. I don't want to say that this thing might actually work, but I'm starting to think that this thing might actually work.

Source: Mars One

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