I’m not really sure why I just heard about this, but it has recently made it onto my radar that a company in the Netherlands is recruiting volunteers to help colonize Mars. I gather they made some kind of announcement in January and then started actively advertising that they wanted volunteers in April. And thousands of people have already applied.
First those little robot vacuums and now this? I think we can safely say we live in the future, my friends.
There are catches though. One big one in particular: it’s a one-way ticket. Like, you aren’t coming back. Ever.
Based on a comprehensive poll of my household, interest in colonizing Mars looks like this:
- 50% of the sample polled (me) would not do this if everyone they knew on Earth was dead and they would be guaranteed a billion dollar pay cheque for participating.
- 50% of the sample polled (my husband) thinks it is a major contribution to societies of the future and would probably do it if I was interested too.
See, my husband and I are compatible, but we are not the same. He is the type of person that will occasionally jump out of airplanes that are not on fire. He is also the type of person who thinks that refusing to sleep in a room where one saw a gigantic spider go in but not come out is silly. This may have something to do with his being from Australia. Australians seem to have an inexplicably cavalier attitude toward flirting with death and/or enormous arachnids.
However, when there are no spiders in evidence and my feet are safely on the ground, I can be brought around to the idea that yes, sometimes people survive skydiving and being near big spiders.
But Mars. We’re talking certain death. And yes, death is always certain, but it’s certain in normal ways – cancer or heart failure or car crash. But Mars – who the hell knows? You could die of space flu. (My husband says this is not a thing. I say, how do we know that.) Or you could die of alien attack. Or of human attack when your new little society goes all Lord of the Flies. Or of running out of breathable air or drinkable water. Or of I don’t even know what because who knows what could happen when you are going to spend the ENTIRE REST OF YOUR LIFE on Mars?
Nope. Never. Never never never.
Of course, I haven’t mentioned the best part. They’re going to have it beamed back to Earth for us to watch. They say it’s for educational purposes. But we all know the truth, don’t we? That’s right: Big Brother – The Martian Chronicles. I don’t know if they’re planning to have it live (or if that’s even possible; my astrophysics is iffy), but if it were? People could die. Well, eventually, they absolutely would. It would be kind of like watching the Hunger Games. I tend to think that reality TV has already gone too far, but this, this is something else.
What do you think, people? Would you apply to colonize Mars? Or have you already? Why or why not? Is this really the hope for the future as we continue to screw up the environment here? Would you watch this show? Do you see ethical issues with a show like this? Please. Inquiring minds want to know.