Dutch reality show seeks one-way astronauts for Mars

Apr 22, 2013
Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp holds a press conference to announce the launch of astronaut selection for a Mars space mission project, in New York, April 22, 2013.

Are you crazy enough to sign up for a one-way trip to Mars? Applications are now being accepted by the makers of a Dutch reality show that says it will deliver the first humans to the Red Planet in 10 years.

The main requirements are strong health, good people and survival skills, being 18 or older, and having a reasonable grasp of the English language.

The non-profit company, called "Mars One," aims to land its first four astronauts in 2023 for a televised reality show that would follow the exploits of the first humans to attempt to establish a colony on Mars.

A range of potential pitfalls might prevent the project from becoming a reality, including the inability to return to Earth, the small living quarters and the lack of food and water on Mars.

Assuming of course, that radiation endured during the trip is not lethal, and that any spacecraft is able to negotiate a volatile landing onto the harsh Martian landscape.

Nevertheless, Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp told a New York press conference on Monday that organizers had received 10,000 messages from prospective applicants in over 100 different countries in the past year.

In all Mars One is seeking six groups of four people each. A new quartet would make the seven-month journey every two years after the first crew departs in 2022.

Lansdorp said the plan is to use technology and equipment from those who have already made it, and not to start from scratch. A series of rovers would be sent to Mars first before the human mission would be attempted.

The overall cost for the first manned mission is about six billion dollars, he said.

"It sounds like a lot of money. And actually it is a lot of money. But imagine what will happen when the first people land on Mars. Literally everybody on the globe will want to see it," Lansdorp said.

The project has garnered plenty of skeptics but is backed by Dutch Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, who won the 1999 prize for physics.

The world's space agencies have only managed to send unmanned robotic rovers to Mars so far, the latest being NASA's $2.5 billion Curiosity rover which touched down in August 2012.

Key attributes for applicants, according to Mars One medical director Norbert Kraft, are being adaptable, resilient, creative and having empathy.

"Can you really work with other people from other countries, as a team?" he asked.

Many questions remain about how the astronauts would survive on a planet with a temperature of minus 55 degrees C (minus 67 F) and whose atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide.

But the company's representatives insisted that their mission is ethically sound.

"The long term aim is to have a lasting colony," said Hooft. "This expansion will not be easy," he added. "How soon that will be accomplished is anyone's guess."

The deadline for the first round of online applications is August 31. The application fee differs by country; from the United States it costs $38.

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User comments : 28

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daggoth
4 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2013
I'll go.
zaxxon451
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2013
Disgusting.

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. "
― Guy Debord
Cave_Man
2.7 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2013
Mankind goes to the stars...

But this is NOT how we should do it...I mean what if the galaxy is populated, we are going to look like idiots! (not that we aren't, obviously, apparently and certainly)
Jo01
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 23, 2013
It's a death sentence. And we can watch them die.

J.
ROBTHEGOB
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 23, 2013
OK - these idiots are still trying to run this scam. Lawsuits to follow. Just wait.
Sanescience
3 / 5 (6) Apr 23, 2013
Going to Mars prematurely and giving the world front row seats to a horror show of people dying possibly in excruciating slow and painful manner might set back space development more than all the bungled budgets Congress has passed.
vlaaing peerd
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2013
@robthegob,

it's not America. When you volunteer to die on Mars at your own will whilst being sane, that will completely be your own responsibility. There's also a systematic shortage of legal councelling and lawyers on Mars, that's not going to help their case either.

But it's yet another over-ambitious project laced with complete stupidity born out of Dutch idiocracy. I don't see it happening as they will probably have to face the nation's objections to the sheer lack of ethics involved in the project.
danny_o
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 23, 2013
Yes, no ethics, better use the resources to solve issues on Earth.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2013
better use the resources to solve issues on Earth

...since using our resources here on Earth has been oh-so successful at solving the issues we have, right?
Using 0.007% of the annual GDP once for a one shot mission isn't going to make such a huge difference to world problems.
(Not that I think that this endeavour is a particularly good way of getting to Mars - but we should keep things in perpsective)
Mayday
3 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2013
I would jump to apply for a seat, but they're looking for "survival skills"?? Exactly which Earth-bound survival skills will be of use on Mars? Rubbing sticks together? Getting water from condensation? Eating insects? And who among us possesses Mars-bound survival skills? This project needs to put something on the table that demonstrates they 1) have some idea of what they are doing, and 2) have a tangible, demonstrable, provable way of doing it. Too much blowing smoke for me. Survival skills????
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2013
Exactly which Earth-bound survival skills will be of use on Mars?

Being able to splint a break, realign a dislocated joint or care for a sprain (or other 'survival' type medical/surgical skills) may come in handy.
A smallish mission certainly won't have a fully staffed surgery on board.
Mayday
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2013
Well, that still leaves me out. Thanks, Anti.
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2013
Imagine being on the second or third ship, on your way there, as you watch the people who are already there die on television. Then when you get there, the first thing you have to do is clear out the bodies, which may have been dead for some time. I would assume the teams would do some of the training together, so these would be people you know, at least a bit. And while this is all going on, the television audience is watching.

I wonder who they think is going to sell them a rocket capable of getting to Mars? NASA or ESA certainly can't get involved due to political reasons. SpaceX is likely to pass for the same reasons, as well as ULA.
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (7) Apr 23, 2013
I assume they want to provide a stream of supplies from Earth, not just let them die. Such one way mission could mean that no politician will dare to cut the budget when lives of astronauts depend on it.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2013
I assume they want to provide a stream of supplies from Earth, not just let them die


Yeah, they'll surely have supplies. I think radiation is the problem. The limit on exposure is about 1 sievert before you start to get sick. Curiosity was getting around .002 sieverts per day on the way to Mars, and has been getting about .0007 sieverts per day since arriving on Mars. A single solar storm could take them over the limit in just a few hours, but assuming they get lucky in that regard, it's possible to make a one way trip and then spend two or three years there before you start getting sick. That's assuming the people are all healthy to start with. However, if you're on Mars for two years or more, what are the chances that you won't get at least one solar storm? The radiation on Mars is similar to what the people on the ISS get, surprisingly, so it's not as bad as once feared, but still not good. You wouldn't want to raise a kid or be pregnant there, that's for sure.
Jo01
1.8 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2013
The problem is that it is way to expensive (3 billion per trip) to resupply a Mars 'settlement' .
Especially since no government is involved. Even if some resupply missions are considered lots can go wrong, maintaining the space station is difficult enough at the moment.
It is probably possible to inhabit Mars and even be self sustained. But that will require a well thought out plan, not an add hoc organic group of Mars hippies (they will die within the year). Also, several key technologies have to be developed (to say the least) to be able to pull it off in the first place.

J.
Jo01
2 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2013
" I think radiation is the problem."
That doesn't have to be the case. It is possible to generate an 'artificial' earth magnetic field and protect the spaceship and settlement with it. Of course saying it doesn't make it real.
It's one of the technologies to develop before anyone can go to Mars.

J.
The Singularity
4 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2013
Im envisioning a situation where the tv audience has lost interest in the mission, Mars one goes bust & the governments of the world have keep sending them supplies to keep them alive.
They will host telethons praying on our instincts to survive, emotionally blackmailing us to contribute.

If anyone ever goes to Mars it should be for the right reasons, not for tv ratings.

I really want to witness the first man/woman on Mars in my lifetime but mars one needs to be looking at big scientific goals/objectives not just a social experiment.
dougie_fresh_007
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2013
what better reason is there than " (yournamehere) was the first man to step onto another planet" fame, and a name for history
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 24, 2013
I assume they want to provide a stream of supplies from Earth

Which is going to be very costly, as most missions to Mars have failed to reach their target. If that holds then they'd be advised to send 2 backup missions with each mission if they even want to have a decent chance at continual supply.

If one of these batches doesn't make it in its entirety, then it's game over.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2013
if some resupply missions are considered lots can go wrong, maintaining the space station is difficult enough at the moment


One problem with getting supplies there is simply landing them close enough to the settlement that they are able to recover them. We have difficulty getting anything within 100 miles of any target on Mars. You wouldn't want to try to land closer than that to the settlement because you need your target landing site to be a safe distance away from the colony. You wouldn't want to hit any of their equipment or habitats. This creates a huge engineering problem. You'll need a remote controlled truck with the ability to auto-load the cargo from the supply ship onto the truck.

The more I think about this, the more ludicris it sounds. The sheer volume of engineering problems that remain are staggering. We don't even have a Mars space suit yet, for example. They just contracted Paragon to start a 'conceptual investigation' for a suit last month.
Sanescience
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2013
The radiation on Mars is similar to what the people on the ISS get, surprisingly, so it's not as bad as once feared, but still not good. You wouldn't want to raise a kid or be pregnant there, that's for sure.


Incorrect. The ISS is close enough to receive considerable protection from Earths magnetic field. Mars does not have such a field.

Astronauts on the ISS: about 1 millisievert per day, about the same as someone would get from natural sources on Earth in a whole year.

Beyond Earth's protective magnetic field will vastly increase their exposure. "If you sent two people to Mars, one of them would die,"

http://www.newsci...ing.html
Sanescience
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2013
Over the course of about 18 months, Mars Odyssey detected ongoing radiation levels which are 2.5 times higher than the astronauts experience on the International Space Station – 22 millirad per day. The spacecraft also detected 2 solar proton events, where radiation levels peaked about 2,000 millirads in a day, and a few other events that got up to about 100 millirads.


http://www.univer...diation/
GSwift7
2.5 / 5 (4) Apr 26, 2013
sanescience:

Sorry, your first link is from 2002 and your second one is from 2008. They are both outdated.

Try the following report from December 2012, from the lead investigator of the RAD instrument team from NASA's Curiosity rover:

http://www.space....ion.html

Here's a quote:

RAD has found radiation levels on the Martian surface to be comparable to those experienced by astronauts in low-Earth orbit. A person ambling around the Red Planet would receive an average dose of about 0.7 millisieverts per day, while astronauts aboard the International Space Station experience an average daily dose between 0.4 and 1.0 millisieverts


And I did mention that a single solar storm could take you over the limit in a few hours, so I covered that in my previous post.

BTW, Odyssey isn't a lander; it's an orbiter. Curiosity was the first probe to measure radiation at the surface of Mars. The low level was surprising.
Ober
1 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2013
Seems like most people posting have not researched the MARS ONE project whatsoever!!!!
A lot is explained on their website. Though I do have to agree with GSWIFT7's comment regarding landing near the settlement. TOUGH one!!!!
The mission involves building the habitat BEFORE astronaughts get their. So when they arrive, they will already have water and oxygen waiting for them. They will grow their own food.
As for talk about GOVERNEMNTS, where on the website does it mention anything to do with Governments? This is a totally private venture with funds coming from the public. Think Big Brother on Mars.
This is a trail blazing mission, and everyone involved knows this, including the volunteer astronaughts. The people doing this are CAN DO people, not armchair skeptics who decline to do something incase something bad might happen!!!! So to all the skeptics, take a seat, while those who believe, DO IT!!!!!
Note, I have already donated to MARS ONE so I'm doing my bit to help. You should too!!
Mayday
5 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2013
I call fake. IMO, the likelihood of them ever going into space, let alone Mars, is zero. This reality show looks to be about survival in close quarters in a desert or an arctic environment. We will watch the usual immature, self-obsessed people that these shows seek get sick of each other and act out in the usual ways while trying to survive these extreme conditions. And help will always be nearby. In fact, it will be right behind the camera, as usual. But I have to admit, I do wish the Mars idea was possible. IMO, the idea of pinpoint targeting of landings is a huge clue -- and it's the main poster!
Ober
3 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2013
Well we will know by 2016, as that is when the first missions to Mars of unmanned vehicles begin.
Also , SpaceX is the company that will be used for the launch vehicle, utilising their (as of yet untested) Heavy Lifter. I believe NASA are also involved in providing information on space suits and landing vehicles/procedures.
I have never seen this Grand Mission as a hoax, and I seriously hope it is not. There seems to be too many VIP's (if you like) involved for it to be a hoax. Perhaps it will be a failure, but NOT a hoax IMO.
I take my hat off to those willing to TRY rather than accept failure before starting.
Also note that we are now living in the era of PRIVATE utilisation of space, as todays economic climate is causing Governments to scale back their Space ventures.

If the astronaughts do launch, then even if they fail to land, they will still go down in history as the furthest Man(kind) has travelled from Earth.
Mayday
5 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2013
"Hoax" is extreme. I would not go nearly that far, thank you. I think they have genuine plans for space travel, but the demands of what passes for entertaining TV will prevail. The crew selection will favor the best possible first season -- survival in desert and arctic. By "fake" I mean that they know their priorities, and it is good reality TV, not science, or a sustainable off-Earth civilization. I too applaud the idea and wish I were a good candidate, but I think the realities of reality TV speak against successful reality TV space travel any time soon. I sincerely wish Mars One success. Both in the ratings and in the science. But wow.