Up Front 05/13

Mars One co-founder, Bas Lansdorp, whose company plans to organise the first attempt at human habitation of Mars in 2023, used interactive audience survey software at a conference recently to see how many audience members would like to go to Mars. The result was that more than a third of attendees suggested they would like to leave Earth and go to live on the red planet.  The Mars One mission has 24 to 40 openings for a crew of Martian explorers and the company is inviting applications now. Throughout the astronaut selection program, they will look for people who have good physical and mental health and show five key character traits: Resilience, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust others, and creativity/resourcefulness. They say that they are looking for applicants who are both mature and interesting and no particular academic or professional background is considered a prerequisite for selection. “Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria,” said Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s Chief Medical Director and former NASA senior researcher. “For this mission of permanent settlement we are more concerned with how well each astronaut lives and works with others and their ability to deal with a lifetime of challenges.” Lansdorp went on to say that, in a thousand years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were, just like Neil Armstrong is etched in our memories forever. Tempting? Well Mars One hopes so. The whole project is to be funded by making it ‘the biggest media spectacle in history.’ The company hopes to involve the whole world as the audience of ‘an interactive, televised broadcast of every aspect of the mission, from launch to landing to living on Mars’. It’s brilliant really, Big Brother goes from a house, to a jungle, and now to Mars—or at least to a television studio in Holland. Exciting stuff, but it’s got nothing on Broadchurch.