I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the Mars One project, but, according to recent press releases, there will be life on Mars as early as 2024. As we speak, applicants are being narrowed down, and chosen to begin an eight year long training program to prepare them for a one-way trip to Mars. The catch? Well, those chosen to go will never return to Earth.
Basically, groups of four will be sent to Mars, beginning in the year 2024 (providing there are no delays), and every two years thereafter. The first unmanned journey is set for 2018 for delivery of supplies, rovers, and living quarters. When the chosen astronauts arrive, they will construct their living quarters in an area that will have been scoped by the rovers. Since the atmosphere on Mars consists of high levels of Carbon Dioxide, and low levels of Oxygen, and is also much too thin for us to breathe, the inhabitants will have to wear Mars Suits any time they are outside of the living quarters. These suits will also protect the astronauts from the extreme weather, and any potentially harmful radiation. Two communications satellites, along with an Earth ground base will assist in communications, although, at best, voice calls will have a 7 minute delay. Talking to your friends, or family members from Mars by phone may prove very difficult!
Believe it or not, this project was founded in 2011, by Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders. It was during that year that communications meetings were held with developers of aerospace components in the UK, US, Canada, and Italy. Supplier engineers, and business developers solidified mission architecture, budget plans, and timelines, and the baseline design of a mission to establish permanent human settlement on the planet Mars using only existing technology was designed.
Crew selection is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, with training beginning for the astronauts in 2015. As they are trained, supplies will be sent, and locations for optimal construction of the living quarters will be scouted by one of two rovers. In 2024, we should be seeing off the first 4 humans that will establish permanent settlement on Mars, however, it will take them about 7 months before they set foot on their new home planet. It is estimated that they will land in 2025, and begin constructing their living quarters, and growing plants for food. Another drop-off will be made containing additional living quarters, and life support units for the next group of four to arrive. The plan is to have these quarters constructed, and ready by the time the next group of inhabitants arrives. The second departure is scheduled for 2026, meaning they will probably arrive in Mars in 2027.
It is astonishing to read these plans, and even more so to realize that all of this is taking place in our lifetime! It does, however, lead to an interesting question. Who is to say that WE (as in all of us here, on Earth), were not part of the original version of this very project? In my earlier blog, “The What If Game”, I posed an interesting theory about the possibility of us all being part of an alien experiment, like an ant farm that is being watched as we evolve. In a way, isn’t that exactly what we are doing on Mars? We are sending small groups to begin inhabiting a foreign planet, hoping that they can learn to sustain life there. At this point, it is but a project for us.
Hundreds of years from now, there could be hundreds of thousands of us living on Mars, completely unaware of our roots on Earth. We will be starting over on a new planet, with a clean slate. Who is to say that those on Mars won’t decide to cut communications with us at some point as they grow, and strengthen as a nation? It is, after all, possible that after many years, we could evolve, and adapt to that atmosphere, making the living quarters no longer a necessity. Perhaps, at some point, they may decide that they no longer need, or desire, contact with us. By that point, we will probably have put this planet into a devastating place anyway, void of natural resources, and potentially close to barren for us. We may have entered another world war by then, and wiped out the majority of our own kind with nuclear weapons, or chemical warfare. Earth could be a distant memory of a no longer existent planet in a hundred years, or a thousand years. Will those on Mars still study our history, and speak of us fondly? Or will they choose to block out all knowledge of us to their young so that it is never known to them how corrupt, and greedy, and insensitive people became before we managed to cause our own extinction?
The theories, and possibilities are absolutely endless as to what could happen, may happen, or will happen. With this new project thrown into the mix of “life as we know it”, what doors does that open for the future? Even more curious, though, is what does it say about the possibility of our PAST? Could we have been part of a race that has long since destroyed itself, or its planet? Or even one that watches us still, taking notes on our developments, and advancements and logging it in timelines, and record books for reference? Maybe we all ended up here because our original race grew to be as we are growing to be, and before they stripped their own planet completely of all resources, they started sending people here to repopulate, to continue the human race. Any of these theories is possible, when you consider them. Especially when you consider the fact that we are now sending people to a new planet to start a new community as part of a “project”. I’m sure we will record what they do, and log events as they unfold. At some point, we may even begin shuttling people there in larger groups, once we realize that our demise is inevitable, even if self-inflicted.
These are just thoughts, brought on by our eagerness to spread out as a people, to explore new places, and make settlements in uncharted territories. Surely you don’t believe we are the first to have this “brilliant” idea? Then again, maybe there are many of us out there with that egotistical, self-absorbed attitude that I have spoken about before, that believe that we are the only superior beings in this infinitely vast universe. Maybe it is that very attitude that brought us here to begin with, and has led to our savage, greedy, and violent nature that is now proving to be a strain on our very environment, as well as on our ability to coexist peacefully within it.