The Mars One Project — Apply Now

Quinn ScahillThis May I am set to graduate, and my future afterwards is shrouded in a post-collegiate smog. I do not have any set plans and it is extremely unlikely that I will find a job right out of school.

But forget about me, our own planet’s forecast doesn’t look promising either. All I anticipate is more crazy weather, more crazy people with guns and much more Justin Bieber.

I might as well move to Mars and never come back, and if you think I am kidding, then the joke’s on you.

This is because in 2010 Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp created a privately funded project called Mars One. His aim is to land people on the Martian surface by 2023 and then to create a permanent settlement in the long run.

According to the website, travelling to Mars is now feasible with existing technologies, and even better, applications to become a crewmember on the vessel to Mars are currently open to anyone in the world.

However, the astronauts selected for the journey will likely never return to Earth. It may seem like a lot to ask of someone, to leave and never return home, but this is the dilemma that every great explorer in history has faced.

The folks at Mars One are also expecting this to be the most publicized event in all of human history.

Their website claims that the project will, “maintain an on-going, global media event, from astronaut selection to training, from liftoff to landing, to provide primary funding for this next giant leap for mankind.”

Basically, they plan to have a reality television show, sell merchandise, and accept donations through a company called the Interplanetary Media Group (IMG), which Mars One has a majority share in.

One of the main criticisms of this extraordinarily ambitious project is whether or not enough money can be raised by the IMG to get to the red planet. Richard Garriot de Cayeux, famous for his space tourism, said in an interview with Huffington Post, “Many have interesting and viable starting plans. Few raise the money to be able to pull it off.”

If money is the only thing holding this project back, I’d suspect that a mission like this could soon be accomplished. Considering what’s at stake, a global historical event, money shouldn’t be a deterrent.

Even if Mars One doesn’t accomplish their mission, who is to say that Richard Branson or James Cameron won’t do something like this? Whether Mars One is a success or failure, a precedent has surely been set.

The Mars One project is not messing around with politics, and their mission will not be fueled by propaganda like earlier space races. They are buying their equipment from private suppliers based on price and quality, not because of political or national leanings.

I am personally rooting for this project and all the people at Mars One, no matter how feasible it may or may not be. Haters gonna’ hate, but these dudes are just trying to get to Mars, which is the coolest thing I have heard in a long time.

Quinn Scahill is a senior English major. His columns appear Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.