More than 202,000 people have applied to fill four slots on a flight to Mars with no way of returning home. The flight will be operated by Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit foundation. With backing and support from private investors and aerospace companies, Mars One plans to establish a permanent, self-sustainable human settlement on the Red Planet. The first of six spaceships with crews of four is to be launched in 2026. “This is what humans are made to do…we are explorers. We go into the unknown and develop the technology to survive,” Bas Lansdorp, the foundation’s chief executive, told The Washington Post.
But not so fast. A study by MIT found the first explorers would survive only about 68 days due to food and oxygen shortages. And Gerard ’t Hooft, who received the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics and supports Mars One, told The Guardian the budget and timeline are unrealistic. “You have to put a zero after everything,” he says, which means a launch date of 100 years in the future instead of 10 and a budget of US $60 billion rather than $6 billion.
Would you sign up for a one-way trip to Mars?