Recently, Dutch company Mars One has started recruiting volunteers for a one way trip to Mars. The goal is to land the first crew of two males and two females on the red planet in 2023, and another every two years after that.
Settlements will already be prepared by robotic missions to go on beforehand. These quarters will have exercise equipment and be wired to communicate with friends and families on Earth via a technology similar to Skype–though delays could be up to twenty minutes long.
The company, not to my surprise at all, has already received more than ten thousand applications from people in over one hundred countries. This despite the fact that there will be no returning to Earth.
Though the time-frame seems a bit ambitious to me, I have no doubt that something like this will be done eventually, and I have to wonder about the kind of people who would volunteer for such a trip.
A part of the desire must certainly arise from the opportunity to be a part of history. The names of the first people on mars will be household names for decades, or even centuries to come.
Another part must be the human desire for exploration and discovery. To see and touch and be in a place no one has been, to learn things no one has learned before. The drive to expand and conquer and dominate is still within us, and outside of war there is little outlet for it in the more ambitious of us.
Finally though, I think some element of the desire for a trip like this must be in the escape it offers. There is nowhere further one is capable of running, no more disconnected one could be, than to be on Mars. Any stress or worry or conflict in your life would be left trapped on earth, unable to affect you. Any debts or feuds would be disolved.
I wonder if the psychological tests they must do on these volunteers would weed out someone who just wanted to get away. Someone who was so sick of the world and everything related to it that they felt their last option was to try a new world. I wonder how that would affect the mission if someone like that managed to sneak through.
Because there is one common factor in any problem you have, no matter what nature or location. You.
And you’ll always have your self to live with, there is no escaping that.