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by Miguel Francis
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Dec 11, 2013
A permanent human colony may be established on Mars in the nearest future. Under the Mars One spaceflight project first four Martians are expected to land on the Red Planet already in 2023 and stay there forever as the mission is one-way only.
Every step of the crew's journey will be documented for a 24/7 TV reality show. The organizers say human settlements on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. A selection committee is scheduled to begin sorting the applicants this month and those chosen will have to pass three more rounds before the final decision.
The Voice of Russia spoke with William Anderson, Professor at Department of Economics College of Business at Frostburg State University and a knowledgeable expert on space issues.
What is your personal opinion of the project? Do you think it is realistic?
Well, I think possibly that the issues with space trouble involve getting humans in a really long distance. We are not even talking about going to the Moon, we are talking about Mars, which is another planet and it is a long way away from us.
And it is a one way mission.
Yeah, and you would have to get somebody who would be really motivated to do that. And would have no reason to want to have to return because you talk about when you check in and never check out. I mean it would be a special kind of person willing to do this.
That is very true. The cost of the project is estimated at $6 billion. It is really costly, isn't it? Do you think it will pay for itself?
You will be looking at some very big expanses and I would be honest if anything went wrong, in another words, if anything goes wrong here, somebody gets killed on the way or the colony, something terrible happens, it would have a very negative effect, it's like what happened with shuttle accidents grounding shovel for a while.
There is this 24/7 document reality show that is going to document it all. Hopefully, they won't charge for it otherwise there is a way to make some of the money back.
But 6$ billion, something else you need to understand, we are talking about the upfront costs. And you've got to have, if its government putting the money in then you have politics involved and believe me politics would have be huge in this, private enterprise, I would love to see their business plan and see who is it going to show it to in order to be able to raise this kind of cash.
Thousands have already submitted their applications. What, do you think, is driving all those people? It is quite dangerous, first. Second, there is no way out if something goes wrong, as far as we know. Then why people are so ready to sacrifice their normal terrestrial life for the sake of something unexplored and unknown?
I think that's part of the human nature. Think about 4 or 5 hundred years ago. People who left Europe and came to America, sail across the Atlantic Ocean in those Viking ships or people from other nations like we don't know how far did Chinese explore. Let me give you an example, I believe it was Hernando De Soto that was, I believe, when he landed what now is Mexico back in 1500 he had a ship, he had people burn their ships.
They arrived, disembarked and those people were burning their ships. I know that that was a point of no return. So it's been done in history except of course they were on the shore, on earth and in the same atmosphere, but I would say you would have some of that. There has always been a lot of adventures around us.
Do you think there is a chance that this project will ever succeed? If yes, then how is it going to affect the science, the space, and life on Earth?
I think that the technology is there for that kind of long-term space travel. The problem is that you are only getting one chance, you can never quite replicate the Mars environment on Earth, in other words if you don't have a places where people can live. They can't breath Martian air, they would have to have mechanism that will be able to bring oxygen to them and so everything would have to go right.
To me, I'm asking myself, what is the probability of that, you know, we are talking about people living perhaps years, its not like trip to the Moon, we are there hopping around and then you get back on your Luna ship and get the hack out of here, this is we are talking about really long time.
So I would say that yes, I believe it can succeed. I think the odds are really great against it, succeeding physically although sometimes when you have a failure, people get their backs up and they want to continue, so who knows?
I would say that we are looking at a very difficult project, yes, the technology is probably there whether you can or not put it all together into something where everything has to go right the first time.
Who knows? We did it back in 1969, Americans landed on the Moon in 1969 and they were still using transistors and vacuum tubes, non of the modern computer equipment that we think of, this is Stone Age compared to what we have now, so we should be able to do that.
Source: Voice of Russia
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