Mars-One is a Dutch not-for-profit planning to establish a permanent colony on Mars. They’ve selected candidates to train for the one-way trip in five or ten years. Is that insane?
- Problems to overcome
They say their settlers will land a ship using retro rockets in a configuration never tried before, and no one’s ever landed such big payloads.
- Science won’t be their focus, colonization will – but how do you learn to live off the Martian land without a lot of specialized science?
- Going to Mars, even one-way, will cost a lot – really, really a lot. Mars-One will raise the billions needed using the Olympics as a model – ad revenue, broadcast rights, and donations.
- MIT students studied colony plans and found even simple things like CO2 versus O2 balance for the plants and humans don’t compute. That Mars-One hasn’t planned enough time or money to develop their missions. And they doubt a colony could become self-sustaining anytime soon.
In my scifi book, Glory on Mars, the first colony is further in the future than Mars-One, and I give my settlers some neat technologies – robots to build the settlement, an Artificial Intelligence, and satellite systems complete with an orbiting energy station to beam power to the surface. That’s still not enough to prevent disasters.