By Rebekah Marin
Liberal Arts – English
This weekend while breathing all by myself thanks to my functioning organs and this sweet thing called “oxygen” (which Mars has almost none of), I found myself reading an article published by Popular Science titled, “Why Thousands Of People Are Willing to Die On Mars.” The article talked about a company called Mars One, led by Bas Lansdorp and co-founder Arno Wielders, who are planning a privately funded one-way excursion to not just space, but Mars. The duo believes they will be able to fund a trip costing millions by securing a deal with a TV producer and airing a reality show out of the selected people’s life on Mars.
Are people really interested in living the remainder of their lives out on the unfamiliar, uninhabited planet? You bet. Just like people wanted to fly planes, sail across oceans, and land on the moon, there are over 200,000 willing applicants for the Mars mission. The company has been holding conferences where the aspiring “Martians” have been able to meet and discuss their desire to go to Mars. Many of them simply expressed the desire to go because it’s their dream. They don’t seem to have any interest in running away to find something more substantial, or to abandon their families on Earth; they are just willing to make a sacrifice in the name of furthering humanity’s understanding of what’s out there.
For someone like me who has only been out of the United States twice in her life, both times traveling to Canada (it feels like that shouldn’t even count as out of the US), I can’t imagine that some of these applicants have been to every country, or even every continent on Earth. How can they be willing to give the possibility of those experiences up for one they will only be able to share with the three other predetermined individuals? I wouldn’t call them insane, selfish, or any other slew of things that seem to have left the mouths of the critics. I just simply cannot fathom leaving, knowing that I would never return.
It feels a little bit like a real-life Interstellar situation to me. The four chosen individuals will communicate through recorded videos and live out their time on Mars exploring the uncharted territory. What they might discover I can hardly dream of. However, some of the applicants have barely lived through a quarter of their life on Earth and they’re willing to bid adieu to everything they know and love. The chosen individuals are supposedly all going to be from different continents, which should make the journey more interesting. But as humans we are incredibly social beings; we all thrive off of human interaction, and not the kind coming through a TV screen. Of course there are people who are more introverted, so maybe those people are the ones volunteering for this mission. As the days wear on you’d think that even the most introverted person would start longing for human interaction with different people.
If it were my excursion, I think I’d wait until the possibility of coming back home was available. It’s nothing short of amazing though, that there are people out there willing to take the trip. If all goes as planned and the reality show starts sometime this year to showcase the training process, you can guarantee I’ll be tuning in.
By Rebekah Marin