Get Your Ass To Mars

A Danish not-for-profit company is offering you, the unwashed and dangerous public, the chance to become one of the first human settlers on the red planet Mars. You'll be rigorously trained, flown in a shuttle to actual space, land on Mars and help to establish a full on self sustaining colony. The only downside, I suppose, is that you can never come back. 

Mars-One.com is accepting 'audition' videos from those hoping to start a new life on the Mars colonies, and who aren't at all phased by the fact that it's a one way trip. 

"There is no way to go back; going to Mars is a decision that you make for the rest of your life. The technology for a return mission does not exist. Even if a return mission were available, it would be uneconomical, dangerous and unnecessary."

At this point I should remind you all that this is a real thing that an actual company is trying to do. 

Mars is the new jewel in space scepter, what with the Moon being so rigorously and continually boring, and the fact that it's just out of reach makes it even more tantilising. It's almost like setting a goal you know, and everyone else knows, you could probably never achieve, just so that when you don't achieve it you can still say "Well, I suppose I just aimed too high, and no one can blame me for that."

Mars One cofounder and CEO Bas Lansdorp has been mulling this over for quite some time. Since 1997, in fact, when the Sojourner rover sent back some of the first picture of the surface of Mars. He's sunk all his money into the formation of Mars One and the culmination of his galactic-expatriat dreams, and he's got it all figured out. 

"Currently, Mars One is working with its aerospace suppliers to discuss and close contracts for conceptual design studies of all major components needed for the mission. In the next few months, the first round of the selection process will close and candidates for Round 2 will be chosen. Additionally, negotiations with potential new partners are ongoing."

Mars One's plan is to first send up 4 people. They'll probably not be gleaned from the video audition process because choosing the world's space pioneers shouldn't be done the same way we choose our Big Brother contestants. The success of the mission can't rest on the shoulders of a mouthy hairdresser, two different kinds of camp guy and a former Page 3 girl.

In fact, why not just use proper astronauts in the first place?

"Astronauts, as we have known them from the space-faring missions until now, are often pilots, medical doctors, science payload experts or engineers. For a crew that will permanently settle on Mars, the most important skill is their ability to function in a group. The best individuals fulfilling such criteria can be found in all backgrounds. Of course they need to be healthy and smart. Mars One will train the astronauts for seven years: long enough to learn to solve any medical and mechanical problems and to grow their own food."

The first 4, or the Fantastic Four if you like, will go on an outer space adventure and get things started. Since the ship won't be coming back, they will most likely cannibalize it for parts use them to build settlements and shelters and a toilet. Once they're up there and have got over the crushing loneliness and sense of isolation, Mars One will send up another 4 people. Then 4 more and 4 more every 2 years, allowing the colony to grow at a nice steady rate. 

There's no space on the shuttle for cumbersome and heavy things like water or oxygen tanks, and even if there were it'd all run out pretty bloody quickly. As a result, the Fantastic Four will have to extract what they need from the planet, which is where things get mint.

See there's water on Mars. Ice, more to the point, which is abundant in the Martian soil. All they've gotta do is get out there with a bucket and spade then load the stuff into their life support system. It'll sift the soil from the ice and melt it down to make drinkable water with some, while the rest will go through a process of electrolysis to create oxygen. The habitat itself does the rest by filtering nitrogen from the planet's atmosphere and mixing it with the o2 to get breathable air. Boom. Sorted. What's the next problem?

Food? Right, well there'll be emergency food rations up there already because Mars One are shipping that shit right out before the first crew set off. It'll just be up there waiting for them to arrive. It might be a bit stale and infested with purple glowing spiders from beyond the stars, but that should just motivate everyone to crack on with the farming.

It takes a good eight months to get from Earth to Mars, depending on traffic and how many BSKYB satellites you hit on the way out, and the human race is currently not prepared to travel through space for that long. There's no stasis pods or cryogenic sleep or enough Harry Potter books to last the trip. We could just rough it out; take a Kindle up there each maybe, but things are still going to get very fraught up there very fast

Fortunately Mars One are confident that everything we need to scientifically to journey to and then settle on Mars already exists. "We have made a technical plan with the best people in the industry-- one of our founders and CTO is a payload manager with the European Space Agency and our advisory board boasts of some of the brightest minds. The draft technical plan was discussed and refined with companies that can supply every component needed. No new inventions are required to colonize Mars."

Well why the bloody hell aren't we already up there, space walking to work at the first Starbucks on Mars, complaining about delays on the tram and also the constant monster attacks?

"We are estimating the cost of 6 billion USD to put the first crew on Mars and sustain this small colony."

Ah. Right. Ok then. I haven't got that much on me unfortunately, and neither does any country right now. Except China, and they're hardly gonna let the Danes plan their Mars Collective. Still, it's a bloody exciting idea. Funding is already coming in, due in part to Mars One's parent company

If you want to sign up for a one trip into the history books and also the mouth of a 20 foot sandworm, click HERE for all the details. Get a wriggle on though, because the selection process for Round 1 is coming to a close and over 100,000 odd people have already submitted themselves. 

Maybe you owe some money to some people you'd like to hide from in the most extreme way ever conceived, or perhaps you've just been dumped and would like to massively overreact? Perhaps you're just an insufferably show off and you apply to absolutely anything that involves sending in a video of yourself being kooky near a local landmark. Doesn't matter.

Get your name down. Get your video in. Get your ass to Mars.

UPDATE - The Deadline is approaching!
Ten days left to join aspiring Martians from 140 countries

Words by Gazz Wood

Gazz Wood is a writer from The Northern Film School at Leeds Met University. As well as writing for Wireless he can also be heard on the monthly podcast Possibly of Interest with TV Producer Howard Cohen and special guests from the world of British TV and Cinema, plus his own weekly show Gazz Wood Has A Podcast. He can also be followed on Twitter @GazzPH90

*all photographs copyright Mars One