The news headlines recently were filled with huge number of people vying for a ticket to Mars – One Way. The trip has been planned for September 2022 and arriving at Mars in April 2023 after an arduous journey of nearly eight months.
More importantly the final four selected for the journey will not return. They will stay behind and would be the founding fathers and mothers of the Mars Colony. While the selection process would itself be a challenge, I was wondering how would any one of the 100,000 who have applied made the decision to go in the first place.
Can such a decision be rational?
If you are 40 years old now, you would be 50 when you reach there. So ideally you should be 25 now, so that you are 35 when you are at Mars. With a life expectancy of 75 and you are looking forward to 50 more years on Earth, what would motivate you to sign for a Mars Mission? Of course the chances you are going to get selected is one in 25000. So one may throw caution to winds and apply any way. The cost of the application varies with the country you are in, and it is USD 38 in the USA.
It would make an interesting exercise to do a demographic/psychological analysis on the applicants. The statement of purpose should also make an interesting reading. Human beings are supposed to be social. With the enormous obsession we now have with Google, Facebook, etc., how would one overcome the withdrawal pangs of the same at Mars? FB Status – “Gone to Mars”
Mountaineer George Mallory reportedly was once asked, “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?”, he retorted, “Because it’s there”. It’s since been called, “the most famous three words in mountaineering”. May be people have applied because they could.
I do not expect married couples to have applied unless they have applied together. As the selections for the final four are shortlisted, it would be interesting to observe the behaviour of those in the shortlist. Will they be winding up their earthly stay and dispose of their possession? Terminate the IOUs and pay the tax? Perhaps they would be investing a 100 TB hard disk and store all the books, movies and photographs?
What would your personal possession be? A classic Knapsack problem if there was one! One thing will not be there and that is your mobile.
As days goes by we will have more answers… and I am reminded of an old saying – “You must live to have memories!”