Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, February 19, 2015



Last week, the Mars One Project announced the names of the hundred finalists for their unique mission. One lucky winner will be the first human to walk on the Red Planet. It is quite an honor! During the 1960's Space Race, twelve Americans set foot on the moon. However, no attempts have been made since to go to other planets. Without the threat of Soviet occupation, NASA has shifted focus elsewhere. Fortunately, the private sector that has taken up the mission. Mars One, based in Holland, has big plans ahead. Let's open the mailbag!

How long does it take to get to Mars? Yuri, Kharkov. According to the Mars One website, earthlings can reach Mars in six to eight months, or about the time people currently spend on the International Space Station. See, the orbits of Earth and Mars vary wildly. But...if you time it right, you can use the "Hohmann Transfer Orbit" which shaves two months off the trip.

Who would be crazy enough to do this? Henri, Lyon. Believe it or not: Over 200,000 people signed up for the space mission. From these, a (lucky?) one hundred were announced on Friday. The candidates range in age from 19 to 60 years old. Thirty-eight are Americans. Thirty-one are European. Some are engineers and technicians, others are students and adventurists. Half are men; half are women. However, they do share one trait: They are all crazy!

Is the mission scientifically sound? Sunjay, Allahabad.  Not exactly, Sunjay. According to a report from M.I.T., the Mars One mission is "overly optimistic." Should they be able to land on the planet's surface (half of all un-manned landings have failed), their supplies would likely run out in a mere 68 days. Plans to melt Martian ice into drinking water and to plant crops in oxygen filled domes are also "not really feasible. There are just so many unknowns."

Who will finance the mission? Irwin, New Jersey. This is the most difficult question! Estimates for the initial launch in 2024 range from four to six billion dollars. Quite a daunting task for a non-profit organization. The solution? A reality TV show! The BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channels have already shown commercial interest. It's true: The photos and bios for the candidates read like an article in People Magazine.

How do you fit 100 people in a spaceship? Chuck, Calgary. To clarify: The first voyage of Mars One will have only four people, including the next Neil Armstrong. Then, every two years, another four astronauts will blast off to Mars. A grand total of thirty-six will be fortunate to go to Mars. Hopefully, they will return, but Mars One only promises a one-way trip.

Did anyone from Berkeley win? Virginia, Oakland. Of course! Meet Yvonne Young, a workout instructor. She blames "childhood dreams and watching way too many Star Trek episodes" as her main motivation for the mission.

In summary, we here at the DUNER BLOG fully support the Mars One Mission. After all...They all laughed at Columbus when he said the world was round. Also, we are starved for a new Reality Show that doesn't involve the Kardashians or female wrestlers!

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