Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Life on Mars?

News that 200,000 people have applied to go on a one-way trip to Mars, set up by a Dutch non-profit making organisation, is interesting (http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/17/one-way-mars-trip-shortlist-includes-seven-australians). The 'successful' candidates (reaching an initial consideration phase) apparently includes 5 British and 7 Australians and many appear highly qualified (PhDs), young and successful, so what drives folk to elect to go on such a trip? The most common reason stated seems to be to leave a 'legacy' in terms of being first to live on the red planet. I suspect, however, that life would be extremely tough in that location and might well involve a continued need to send materials to enable the colony to survive. Some of the candidates have mentioned retaining communication links with their friends and relatives on Earth but this might not prove all that easy (I suspect that Facebook and Instagram would not be options). Personally, I think that we need a lot more robot investigation of Mars before we contemplate a human colony (if, in deed, that can ever be viable). Some of the current candidates for this trip of a lifetime are likely to be too old by the time we have most of the answers.

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