Friday, 1 May 2015


If you haven't already heard about it, the Mars One Mission is a Dutch attempt to combine reality TV with space exploration. "An obvious hoax!", you might yell at your screen then go back to watching videos of cats getting stuck in things. Except that, so far, it appears real...ish.

Please don't get your hopes up though Major Tom. The masterminds behind this 'mission to go where only cute rovers big and small have gone before' want us to get so excited about the idea that we give them our money. Yep, they want to get a chunk of the (ludicrously under-estimated) 6 billion slices of moon-cheddar crowd-funded. And if you become a convert to the idea that this Trek is actually possible, then I suspect you'll happily hand over the money you actually earned (maybe even doing work to help people) and stay as cool as a Vulcan on Hoth when you find out you'll never get any return for your investment. Could this endeavour be just a brilliant Nigerian Prince-style money scam on liquid oxygen and hydrogen? I'm betting that the Dutch entrepreneur heading this scheme has no space-suit.

If this idea ever gets going past the 'Please! All your money are belong to us' stage, could you even imagine a Big Brother with nerds (instead of 100% sugar-free and personality-free promotion models and emotionally-stunted pin-headed gym-junkies) in a tin can hurtling to Mars for 6 months? The trip would be like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey IN REAL TIME. Now, I know that it's a classic movie but imagine watching it about 1500 times in a row. Okay, say it with me, "I'm sorry Dave, I ain't goin' down like that."

Even edited down to an hour once a day would likely be less interesting than being someone who would have got full marks on the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale before the invention of the printing press. I'm guessing that the Mars One powers-that-be probably wouldn't be willing to genetically engineer a Xenomorph or five to mostly come out at night ... mostly, and add some splatter to the journey.
Let's take a further space flight of fantasy and assume that they keep Riddick restrained and land on the red planet safely. Guess what? They never get to come home, oh, and sex is banned. It's sort of like the less-than-impressive depictions of Judeo-Christian heaven except on red dirt rather than clouds. This could be the first group of people ever where the only illegal sex is the one where a baby could be the result. So would every other 'act' be fine or would that too be a sin? Their holy book / instruction manual called "So you've gone and bought a one-way ticket to Mars with no hope of returning?" could read, "A sin-free union is strictly between a man and a man, or a man and a woman or a woman and a woman, or you know, threesomes can be fun, even moresomes are cool but if you place the peen in the vag you'll be told in an Austrian accent to "get your bare-naked ass out into the brisk atmosphere of Mars so thine eyes will pop out unrealistically and thine head will explode.""

And remember that the Mars One business model requires continual investment, so, what, if the ratings drop too low then no more supply drops? The highest ratings they would get could be the world watching the first crowd-funded Martian snuff film called, 'Red Mars / Dead Mars'.
If you're hoping that this off-world emigration might just fit nicely into the over-done trope of "crazy enough to work", time will tell, but I predict that it will die a death just like every other planned mission to Mars has to date. And haven't pretty much all of the Mars movies been unwatchable even for sci-fi geeks who would get all the references in this article? I would say to the Mars One leader called Bas Lansdorp, "Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating a mission to Mars is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one." Actually, isn't Bas Lansdorp one of the Biths in the Cantina Band?

So yeah, almost 50 years since we went to the moon and where are we? The human race now has absolutely no redundancy. And it's only 4 years until the Nexus 6 poet murderer called Roy comes to destroy us, like tears in the rain. We have no off-site backup so one big "That's no moon"-sized object smashing into us and billions of voices will suddenly cry out in terror and then be suddenly silenced. If you think that backing up your smart-phone data is a good idea, why is everything that humanity has ever done except for some laughably-indecipherable golden discs still housed on this pale blue dot? Like when your annoying mate asks after you've crashed your hard drive, "Did you back up your data?", the aliens will wonder why they can't watch any more of Big Ang on Mob Wives. Sorry, that last sentence made about as much sense as Big Ang's face post-surgery.

How far away from a self-sustaining space colony are we? I actually don't think that human beings in our current form will ever colonise another world. It will probably be our part-human part-machine descendants. A colony of Darth Vaders would have a much better chance than a colony of annoying high-pitched yippee-proclaiming kid Anakin Skywalkers.
Damn it, I wrote all this pre-amble in order to make a joke about Mars-turbation but then hurtled off into way too many groan-inducing space-fiction references instead.


With Mars One, no one will be surprised when their Earth-based leaders scream "Whoops, we need another seven astronauts for the next season!!!" Then again, I never thought I'd see a stormtrooper playing the piano, so as long as it's not my money, let's wait and see what happens from the comfort of our self-sustaining ecosystem where in sex all the neighbours CAN hear you scream.

(Please be proud of me that I kept the friendly-but-racist Dutch jokes in my head)


And more agreeing with my concerns with a shyte-load more detail that no one needs to know unless they want to set themselves up as competitors to Mars One. Now, I used to be a Mars mission believer and read Bob Zubrin's compelling book. I want to go to Mars too! The believers will look to the past and say, what about Apollo, what about sewerage infrastructure, what about the Youtube popularity of MattyBRaps? It's a false analogy as these examples were feasible. Mars colonization is like telling early human hunter gatherers to write, record, produce, mix and master Robin Thicke's 'blurred lines' (actually they probably would agree with the sexual politics of the lyrics). Should I just go ahead and propose something more feasible? The key is incremental improvement. We start with going back to the moon first to test everything out, then set up a Moon Unit Alpha and Zappa (sorry Doctor Evil) similar to the International Space Station, then keep going with incremental improvements! Any endeavour like this would become a reality show anyway so I kind of agree with Mars One about getting some ad revenue. Or we can just wait until the global-consciousness hive-mind singularity Skynet or DS9 Odo-type shape-shifting race to work it all out. It will be, wait for it, wait for it, stay on target, stay on target, a blast, either way...

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