Once the excitement of being a Mars One colonist wears off, the realities may start to set in. Being part of the Mars One colony is not only extremely dangerous, it is a recipe for a science fiction horror story. Here are the top 11 reasons why you shouldn’t be a ‘colonist’ with Mars One:
1. High Risk Travel
Space travel is high risk. During the launch, you will be strapped on top of a massive rocket that could explode. During the flight, you could smash into space debris. You could veer off course and be hurtled into deep space, or even towards the sun. But landing on Mars is probably the most dangerous event of all. When missions fail, it is often because of a crash landing. Your risk of a violent or even terrifying death is extremely high.
2. Radiation Poisoning
Flying to Mars may take over a year to complete and during that time you will face serious health risks from two main types of radiation: cosmic rays and energetic particles from the sun. Both types of radiation can damage DNA and greatly increase your risk of cancer. If you get cancer, there will be no chemotherapy available at the colony. Cancer will be a death sentence, and an excruciating one at that.
3. Survival as Experiment
Once you arrive on Mars, your survival is all a big experiment. No one has done this before. You have to create oxygen and food literally from the rocks. Your life support equipment could fail. Issues might arise that the scientists back on Earth hadn’t thought of. Imagine the horrific scenario of equipment that can only support half the colonists. Will you all die together, or will you decide the survival of the colony (and your own life) is worth a few murders?
4. Ripped Suit Death
Over the decades, it’s very likely your suit will rip at some point. If your suit rips, a number of horrible things will happen. First, CO2 will rush in and mix with your oxygen, instantly poisoning you and causing you to asphyxiate and choke. Second, if the outside temperature is over 10 degree C, your body fluids will boil due to the difference in atmospheric pressure. If it is winter, temperatures can plummet to as low as -150C, and you could get very cold very fast. But that doesn’t really matter, because you’ll die from CO2 poisoning long before you freeze.
5. Maintenance Issues Death
Over the decades, the machinery and electronics at your colony will experience natural wear and tear. We hope it will be easy to fix, but over many decades things will break down. Do you know how to fix your laptop? If not, how are you expected to fix the computer in your multi-billion dollar colony? Or how about the oxygen system? And what if the airlock jams? Hopefully, there will be someone in your colony that knows how to fix these things. But if that person dies in this high risk environment, you’d better hope nothing breaks while you’re still alive.
6. Rover Breakdown Death
If you’re going to Mars for the rest of your life, you may want to explore. At first, you may just walk. But if you get a rover you can explore further. Over many decades, your rover will experience wear and tear and may break down. If it breaks down while you’re exploring, you may be too far from home to walk before your oxygen runs out. Imagine the tiny sun is setting, you’re lost on a distant planet without any features, and you’re running out of oxygen. That’s a nightmare.
7. What if the Doctor Dies?
We’ll assume you’ll have a professional doctor at your colony. But what if that doctor dies before you? A doctor is an important asset in such a high risk environment where the smallest mistake could result in fatal injury. And that’s to say nothing of the millions of other ailments that could kill you if you were back on earth. Maybe you could do a video conference with a doctor, but do you really trust your fellow colonists to perform surgery guided by a video?
8. Extreme Boredom
You will live in a small pod, about as large as a jail cell. Because going outside is a process more complicated than scuba diving, you will probably spend most of your time in your pod. Over the years, the novelty of going outside will wear off. You’ll have explored as far as you can, and it will eventually become a chore to go out into the desert just to walk around. You may find yourself spending months at a time lying in bed alone playing video games or just staring up at the ceiling.
9. Crippling Nostalgia
You will never again feel the breeze on your face. You will never again dip your toes in the ocean. You will never again see blue skies with white fluffy clouds. You will never again see your family and friends, and over time you will slip from their thoughts. Replacing these things will be the inside of your pod, and a desert that is so inhospitable that you will die in seconds if you step out into it.
10. Last Man Standing
Over the decades, people in the colony will die and there is no guarantee that more people will come to replace them. In time, there will be only one person left on the entire planet. If that person is you, it will be very lonely indeed. You could be alone for ten or twenty years and possibly longer. It will just be you, marooned on an inhospitable rock out in the solar system, alone. That is truly the stuff of nightmares.
11. Big Brother
Mars One will be a reality TV show. One of its founders is Paul Romer, who also brough Big Brother to the heights of its success. In Romer’s words, Mars One will be the “biggest media event in the world. Reality meets talent show with no ending and the whole world watching.”
Over the course of 10 years, we will watch 1000 contestants widdled down to 24 finalists. These finalists will be sent up in batches of 6 over a number of years (it helps ratings to spread things out). Mars One will not be a colony. It will be a reality show; but it will be a much darker reality show than we’ve ever seen. There is no escape for the contestants and, like the Hunger Games, we are guaranteed to watch people die.
Being part of Mars One may seem like an adventure, but I implore you, think it over. If we were to send prisoners to start this ‘colony’, it would be a gross violation of human rights. Why would you put yourself through this? For fame? You will be famous, yes. But your legacy will inevitably become a science fiction horror story.
If you really want to join a Mars colony, consider supporting Elon Musk’s plan (the founder of Space X). He envisions a proper colony complete with 80,000 people–a city on Mars. There will be science and industry. There will be families, schools and jobs. There will be large transportation vessels taking people there and back. Musk’s vision isn’t a reality show. It’s the real thing.
This article was written by Jordan Harbour of the Twilight Histories, an alternate history podcast with a radio drama theme. Listen to this episode where Hannibal defeats Rome. 1000 years later, Carthage starts a small colony on Mars… with a dark secret.