Is Mars Your Dream Getaway?
May 1st, 2013, Emilene Parry

Is Mars Your Dream Getaway?

A nonprofit organization, Mars One recently announced that they are planning to fly teams of 4 astronauts to the red planet every two years with the first landing scheduled in 2023. People over the age of 18 can apply by submitting their application to the organization’s website. Despite being a one way trip and a mission with considerable risks and challenges, over 78,000 people globally have already applied.

A third of Lab participants have heard about this mission before taking part in the Lab. Overall opinions of the mission varied, with some comments including:

“A one way trip to Mars? Sounds scary and cool but not totally believable” Nana, UAE

“It’s great that technology is able to take us to this level, and I think it is a good investment to learn more about our universe” Juliette, UAE

“Interesting idea but can't imagine who would consider trying to live on a planet with no oxygen” Jay, UAE

“I think it will be the second greatest leap of humanity since the Apollo mission on moon, and surely the most exciting one” Achraf, Morocco

“It’s not possible” Shabs, Kuwait

“It’s really amazing and very attractive for me” Muhammad Athar Shah, Pakistan

“This has potential though only in case we know for sure there is a threat that earth will be destroyed” Anon

“I think that it is possible to have a settlement anywhere but what about the comfort level or the living standard? In my opinion it is not possible to have the Earth comfort level and the living standard on Mars, not even by 2023. This mission is great only in terms of tourism but not good for a permanent settlement” Choudhary, UAE

“I think it’s all in human nature to look for new things and challenges and this mission is just the response of this nature that we possess. I wish good luck to this mission” Hamad, Saudi Arabia

“This whole mission is insane. Why waste trillion and zillion of dollars to go to a land which does not even proof to sustain human life. Instead it could be used to irradiate poverty, clean our countries in which we were born, increase the production of eco-friendly transportation, etc., Yes you may say my response is a joy kill of scientific extravaganza, but come to reality. If we can’t even keep the world we are in neat and tidy and stable then what the hell are we going to do in a land so far far away?” Survesh, India

Despite a largely positive response to the mission, only a fifth of lab participants said they would consider applying to live on Mars themselves. Reasons given by lab participants who would consider applying include:

“I'm a sci-fi fan from very little....& I always wanted to go the space” Tapon, UAE

“I'm sick of the planet earth” Sam, UAE

“To be able to learn more and start all over. To find a way to possibly guarantee a future for future generations when our current planet has completely disintegrated” Juliette, UAE

“I don't have an adventurous streak, but I am fanatical about all this sci-fi stuff, so it would be brilliant if I get a chance to live in a place other than Earth” Lamia, Dubai

On the other hand, reasons for not applying include:

“I enjoy life too much on Earth to want to give it all up for life in a spacesuit” Jay, UAE

“I would miss all the good things on earth” Raj, UAE

“Earth is a more beautiful planet than Mars. My family here is more precious than living alone there by myself” Farida, UAE

“Better to make this planet a better place” Muza, UAE

Lab participants reported great concern about the one way trip to Mars with no promise of ever returning to Earth which many felt is unethical. A main source of concern appears to be leaving families behind. Comments on why they felt it is unethical include:

It is really ridiculous. How can one live there for whole life leaving his family” Rabail, Pakistan

Because people have their relatives on earth” Misbah, Pakistan

“Because after they are there they will feel home sick, insanity may kick in after that and the whole stuff from Pandora’s box follows” Survesh, India

“Because life in Mars has no guarantee yet” Anon

“They should have the choice to come back if they are unhappy there” Anon

“How do they know staying in Mars is safe? Nothing is established there. Earth right now is home. But if they make Mars a home, then I think it would be all right. But since it's not (now), it's not ethical” Lamia, UAE

“Human are bound to live on this planet (Earth). They can neither be happy nor comfortable when it comes to living permanently on Mars. The religious places and other living facilities are only available on Earth and nowhere else” Choudhary, UAE

Not all Lab participants felt that it was unethical, mainly due to the fact that applicants are told in advance that they would not have the option to return and it is their choice to apply. Some Lab participants did feel that psychological evaluations should be compulsory for those selected.

“The people are volunteering. They aren’t being forced to do something they don’t want to so I don’t see why it’s wrong” Nana,UAE

“The people going are very clearly told they will not be coming back, so it is a choice they are willing to make. I do believe, however, these people will need to go through a thorough mental examination to make sure they are fully aware of the choice they are making” Juliette, UAE

“If they choose to go after knowing the terms, it’s up to them as long as they are deemed mentally stable before making the decision” Jay, UAE

“They will have a new life” Ahmed, Egypt

Approximately a fifth of lab participants believe that starting a new human society on Mars will be successful. Alternatively, reasons why Lab participants did not think starting a new human society would be successful include:

“Humans are social creatures. If each group of four takes two years to arrive, the mental strain of isolation will be tremendous, even assuming that the problems of everyday living, breathing, nutrition, keeping healthy are met” Jay, UAE

“Our current civilization is very spoiled and I guess the people going there will be from western civilization. They will practically have to adapt some very old fashioned social rules and will have to have very strong characters and bodies to survive” Alice, UAE

“Humans like to have improvements and improvements cost lots of money. Who's going to fund this much money every time?” Choudhary, UAE

Some Lab participants were more optimistic about the success of starting a new human society on Mars:

“From the caves we have come to a time when venturing the skies are nothing more than taking a walk in the streets... so definitely it'll be successful” Tapon, UAE

“Because most of the people who want to live in Mars want a new beginning of life” Faizan, UAE

“Yes but it’s a very long process” Shabs, Kuwait

When asked how they felt about children being born and brought up on Mars, views varied. Many Lab participants felt that it would be unfair on the child not being able to experience what Earth has to offer whilst some others felt that it would be fine as long as the child is not aware of what they are missing out on. Others were more positive about children being brought up on Mars and felt it could offer a safe society to live in.

“It’s a little unfair” Nana, UAE

"We turned out alright as a human species on earth, so why not use the technologies and new environment to do it all over again” Juliette, UAE

“I would feel sorry for them that they were limited in their experience. For anyone to visit Mars would be amazing, but to live and have no experience of life on Earth and all it has to offer after thousands of years of development would be detrimental to a child's education. It’s no different than isolating a group of people on an island somewhere on Earth with no access to the outside world” Jay, UAE

“They would be an actual Martian:-D if the conditions are right why not? Achraf, Morocco

“Great Idea - with Mars nationality” Hosam, Egypt

“The children might be the ones who will learn to live there. But again, who will teach them all the engineering and technology to maintain their life support systems? It is a huge risk” Alice, UAE

“If I felt that living there is safe then yes I would encourage having children there and bringing them up on Mars” Anon

“Honestly, I don't know. I am a bit skeptical that people will even want to breed there... it's going to take years to build the society in Mars” Lamia, Dubai

Would be nice if they aren’t told about earth” Shivam, India

“It could be very interesting and the new born baby can proudly say that I was born in Mars” Muhammad Athar Shah, Pakistan

“If schools and a good society are created why not” Anon

“I even doubt if that's possible to have children on Mars. Gravity, weather and human gene etc. they all have a big impact on reproduction” Choudhary, UAE

“I think it will be the same as children born and brought up on earth” Ahmed, Egypt

Lab participants had the following opinions of Mars One which is the non-profit organization behind the mission:

“They will be remembered in human history with respect & honor for taking such a bold step” Tapon, UAE

“I think they are a very ambitious and innovative organization” Juliette, UAE

“Visionaries and interesting but think it would be better planned with return visits after a few years rather than complete emigration” Jay, UAE

“I think they should be encouraged for the effort they are doing” Hamad, Saudi Arabia

“No opinions have formed yet” Lamia, Dubai

“Money making scam will shut down soon” Shabs, Kuwait

“No one knows the main agenda or objective of the organization“ Choudhary, UAE

Although interest in the mission is low amongst Lab participants, over half would consider going on a trip to Mars if it was on a temporary basis only. Reasons why they would consider going to Mars on a temporary basis include:

"I would love go to mars but I have a lot to lose if I go permanently, for example my parents, family and friends” Achraf, Morocco

“It would be an adventure. I always wanted to do things that are scary and fun” Nana,UAE

“For the experience of course... not to mention the attention” Tapon, UAE

“Just to be in space” Anon

“I would love to be a part of history!” Raj, UAE

“Curious to see the planet and maybe evaluate it to see if I could eventually live there” Anon

“Would be a nice experience to discover a new place” Shivam, India

Mars One intends to fund this mission by televising every aspect from the selection of astronauts to take-off in 2023. About a third of Lab participants stated that this changed their opinion of the mission although opinion of broadcasting the mission on TV varies:

“Sounds like a lame reality show” Nana, UAE

“Well, the world needs to see it all in action!” Anon

“It is good because we will be able to witness as life will be there, but I don't like it because I think one of the fundamental rights of humans is their right to privacy” Juliette, UAE

“It's a good idea. Might spark some interest in the human society from people” Lamia, Dubai

“I am sure by 2023, the technology will be very advanced and it will be easy to have a live broadcast. Giving a live broadcast will be much better than a previously documented video which will be of course edited in many ways” Choudhary, UAE

“A good way to make money as a TV series but after some time it will lose its buzz” Survesh, India

“People will really like it and maybe some will want to go there after watching this documentary” Rabail, Pakistan

“Yes they should do that. I will follow them on TV on how they live there” Anon