Mars One promises us a new planet, but are these dreams of colonising new land a slightly too big a leap for mankind?

 

To establish human settlement on Mars would unquestionably be one of the human race’s greatest achievements, but is this really in our grasp? Bas Lansdorp the entrepreneur behind Mars One believes that in 2026 take off will be ready, set, go!

Mars One is an organisation from the Netherlands with an objective to make the biggest leap for mankind in history. Not only will humans live on mars but there will be no return ticket. They want to provide us with more information about the solar system but more importantly, to inspire generations to come.

Lansdorp emphasises that the mission will use only existing technology, causing a lot of organisations to question its feasibility. The chosen astronauts will have to rely on life support and ISRU technology to survive. However, reports conclude that existing ISRU technologies are insufficient for this. Sadly we can’t survive without oxygen. But we can also die following an excess of it, which is the next issue. The potential colonists will have to grow their own crops — Tesco doesn’t currently provide free delivery to space. Initially plants producing oxygen seems like a bonus, however in the closed environment the extreme levels of oxygen will become dangerous.

At present, the technology required for habitation has not yet been developed. With the initial deadline approaching, costs soaring and problems appearing, people are becoming more suspicious.

Financially speaking, people have questioned if the project has the backing to make this incredibly ambitious dream a reality. Describing itself as a non-profit organisation, Mars One’s website details that they have support from investors globally. In addition, they have accepted financial support from the public using the website Indiegogo. So far they have only raised $313,744 of their flexible goal of $400,000 (excluding Indiegogo’s fees). Lansdorp has yet to release a feasibility report, so it’s understandable why not many people have confidence in the mission.

Mars One has claimed that over 200,000 astronauts have applied to be a part of the groundbreaking project. But speculation has risen concerning the legitimacy of this claim. Dr Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity’s College of Education in Dublin has broken the silence revealing worrying secrets about the project. He was one of what he claims ‘2,761’ applicants to become one of 100, now 40 astronauts.  He explains how apart from his application of short answers and a ten-minute-long Skype interview, no other communication was made before he was selected. However for a mission that is beyond the scientific reach of many, you would have thought more would be required?

Further interviews with Roche have revealed that the hopefuls chosen were the ones who generated the most money for Mars One through online advertising and donations. Considering Mars One claims to be a non-profit organisation, people can’t help but be concerned that corruption among the ranks is helping them raise funds.

Pushing all speculation and conspiracies aside, their project for life on Mars has many people excited. The idea of sustainable life on another planet is fascinating. In the first stages of development, Mars One secured an investment with television and production company Endemol (producers of Big Brother). The CEOs were planning a reality show to follow the lives of the people on Mars — another Truman Show perhaps? However in February 2015 it was revealed that they were unable to reach an agreement.

It’s still early stages for the project with understandable setbacks in planning and development. Even so, the amount of criticism surrounding its nature and feasibility has been noted. Notably, many argue that the $6 billion budget is unrealistically low following NASA’s estimated cost of $100 billion — though this did include costs for a journey back to Earth.

So should we wait for The Only Way is Mars to air on our television screens? Personally, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Of course, the prospect of maybe one day being able to live on Mars is surely going to captivate enough of us to sit and dream.

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