Monday 29 April 2013


When my husband first told me about the following news story, I didn’t believe him. I not only didn’t believe him, I actually laughed at him and told him that no one in his or her right mind would ever want to do such a thing (not to mention who would choose to be the financiers behind a seemingly improbable project such as this). Then of course he showed me the article and I realized, oh my god, we truly are headed in this inconceivable direction; the direction of space that is. 

A group of scientists in New York announced a contest, if you will, in which a member of the global public could volunteer to go live their lives on Mars. Let me re-emphasize what that means, one’s WHOLE life (or what's left of it) on Mars. One way, no return, once you commit, you are not coming back (as it takes 7 months to even get there, and apparently an extended period of time in that atmosphere changes your bone density or something like that – and drives you totally stark raving bonkers. Sorry, that last bit is my opinion).

A foundation called The Mars One Organisation has now opened itself to applicants wanting to take this one-way journey into space to spend the rest of their days in an inflatable habitat. Let’s break this down for a moment before we go any further. For me, it’s bad enough to get me on an Easyjet flight with a bunch of strangers. Now, if you told me that not only would I have to fly on an Easyjet plane that was a fraction of the size, eat food out of a tube, and sit with a bunch of strangers in this claustrophobic tin can for seven and that's before I even landed?? Can you say FORGET ABOUT IT?!

So the most absurdly surreal (and slightly macabre) catch of this whole arrangement, they want to film it all for a reality television show. Their goal: to film the selection process, the journey, the landing, the life. But of course they do. “Life on Mars. Forever!” Think of the sponsorship money the creators of this project are all dreaming of, “Life on Mars, with Starbucks Coffee! Life on Mars with Brietling watches!” Cause time is important when you’re counting down the days until the aliens appear or you kill the guy next to you. The project in totality will cost around 6 billion dollars and they hope to raise most of it by selling the ‘astronaut’ selection process, launch and landing as a TV show and of course charge applicants to apply to go on this insane adventure (it’s around $38 bucks to apply). Apparently even today, visitors can go to the website and start voting on which applicant they like the best. Let’s put a wager on how many big bosomed blonds are ending up on that rocket, shall we? The final round will be an internationally broadcast show in which six teams of four compete for the chance to get stuffed in a rocket and blasted off of Earth.

Entries from countries all over the world will compete against one another to make their way to the years of training that awaits them. So on that subject, let’s talk about training. How does one actually train to live on another planet in an inflatable habitat forever?? No training process in the world, in my mind, can prepare you for the fact that you’re about to go live on a planet with nothing remotely familiar, no cars, nature, AIR, real food, friends, or blessed coffee shops. I mean, space coffee, for life?! Get serious. And one must reiterate, you're not living in a condo up there. It's an inflatable habitat. Even a New York real estate agent would have a hard time selling that one. Then again, as the organizers said, if you need to smell flowers and run through the trees on any given day, you’re not the one for this trip. 

Of course this all brings up so many questions I’m not even sure where to start. For starters, who is going to own Mars then? If we’re colonizing it, does that mean we now own it? Cause something tells me that won’t sit well with the Russians and Chinese. And what about food, or shall I say real non-manufactured food? You’re telling me they’re going to live on space food forever? Or plumbing? Or schooling, or entertainment for godsakes. It’s all well and good in the beginning when you’re thrilled to be on Mars, but after a few months, when the reality sets in that you’re staring at red clay day after day with a handful of other people, trust me, you’re going to need something to do. Not to mention, what if these people start to get on each other’s nerves? Merely the idea of this reeks of a Lord of the Flies denouement.

The TV geniuses that brought us shows like the Kardashians and the Shark Hunters, claim that the public will form a bond with the participants that will last a very long time (which begs another question: are these chosen ones going to procreate up there? Birth on Mars. Oh my god, please someone tell me this is a joke!)And yet what I believe they are failing to ask themselves is the biggest question of them all: how long will these chosen people last?

For as complicated as Earth can be (or as complicated as we make it) I’m fine with staying right here with my non inflatable house and my ability to come and go as I choose whilst drinking a decent cup of coffee. Thank you very much. But good luck to the rest of you eager space travelers. 

Happy Monday. 

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