400 Volunteer for Death Mission To Mars

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Imagine: it's 2030, and you've booked a ticket to Mars. You're now a space colonist, the vanguard of human civilization. You travel ten months in a vacuum in order to arrive at the desolate Red Planet to experience something that the other six or seven billion people on Earth could only fantasize about. And, of course, you'll be staying on Mars forever--otherwise known as until you die. Because that was, in fact, the deal you made when you volunteered for this one-way mission back in 2010. Bring it on, right?

That appears to be the sentiment of Peter Greaves and his 399 fellow would-be Mars colonists, profiled by Maxim Lott in Fox News. The catalyst behind Greaves decision to throw in his lot in as a potential space traveler appears to be last year's special edition of the Journal of Cosmology--in which the editors detail "exactly how a privately-funded, one-way mission to Mars could depart as soon as 20 years from now." The issue proved so buzz-worthy that the editors received detailed letters from eager volunteers who'd be ready and willing to leave their Earthly possessions behind for a chance to make history. Here's one computer programmer's plea:

"I do VERY well with solitude," he wrote of his qualifications. "I am handy with tools, very good at making things work, have generated my own solar energy, built three houses (with my own hands) and am quite sane and stable."

Unfortunately, the prospect that NASA would choose these candidates as potential astronauts for a Mars mission appears to be quite slim. "Currently, the requirement of a college degree in science, engineering, or math--followed by years of professional experience--would probably disqualify most," said NASA spokesman James Hartsfield to Fox News. But if this is a privately-funded expedition to Mars, there's be no need for those meddlesome requirements. There's only a problem of finding adequate funding to get that private 400-person spacecraft off the ground.

Since the Wire is also fascinated by the prospect of a mission to Mars (round trip would be preferable), we decided to glance at how the Journal of Cosmology envisions financing this mission:

The Human Mission to Mars, can be marketed and sold as the ultimate sports and reality TV extravaganza with the conquest of an entire planet as the ultimate prize. Astronauts from around the world, each with their compelling life stories, would compete against one another to be selected for the Mars' teams; Mars' teams would compete against one another to be the first to land on the Red Planet, and all astronauts would be competing against the possibility of death. Astronauts would be marketed for what they are: heroes and athletes in superb physical and mental condition...
...It is important to recognize sex differences in behavior and thinking; a field of study this author pioneered many years ago (Joseph 1979, 1985, 2000, 2001a,b, 2002; Joseph and Gallagher 1980; Joseph et al., 1978 ). From a marketing perspective it is important to target traditional female interests: love, romance, and the prospect of a Martian marriage and the first baby to be born on Mars. Mars' fashions, Mars' styles, magazines and books featuring the lives and loves of the astronauts with all income going to support and pay for the Human Mission to Mars.

[H/T: Time Newsfeed]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.