Life on Mars?

This morning, I read something on Facebook about a shortlist of people going to Mars, so, naturally, I had to spend the rest of my morning on the couch in my pajamas searching for more information from the Internet.

And apparently…it’s true.

Founded by Dutch scientists Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, The Mars One project is devoted to starting the colonization of Mars. According to their website, they are planning to send teams of four humans up to Mars in 2024 – as in nine years from now – to establish a settlement and…hang out doing scientific experiments, I guess? They are also going to host a reality TV show on these future astronauts as they undergo training (because reality TV makes things more legit). And anyone can apply – well, just about anyone, provided they are between 18 and 60, are in a certain height range, have a sound body and mind, speak English and/or another common language, and are willing to send themselves on what just might be a suicide mission, never to see the light of day (literally) on Earth again.

A quarter-million people applied, and today the list was whittled down to 100 of them – 50 men, 50 women – and released to the public. According to Space.com (and many other news sites), 39 are from the Americas (33 from the USA), 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania, and they range in age from 19 to 60. Most have advanced degrees in a field relating to astrophysics, which would probably be a good thing to have.

So, just who are these 100 people?

Mars One has all of their profiles. They seem like a motley bunch, from what little info there is on them so far on a poorly-designed website that looks more like Myspace than anything else. Maybe it’s just my computer that makes it load so slowly, but it doesn’t seem to have all that much information on them. Needless to say, I am thoroughly interested in just who will be our planet’s representatives to Mars, and because I’m a nice person, I went through all 100 profiles so you don’t have to, and have assembled my dream team of space cadets. Well, that’s not really that fair to say because most of them seem like fairly normal, well-adjusted people with an actual interest in going into space. Basically, these people are the ones to watch out for, and the ones whom I’d enjoy hanging out with for the rest of my years on this earth  life. (Ha, see what I did there?)

  • Electra, 37, AustraliaWith a name like Electra, how could you not want to send this woman to space? She describes herself as an agriculturist, dental surgeon, and geoscientist, and her interests include pole dancing, silkworms, and cats. I would pick her so we could have food, good teeth, and some quality entertainment.
  • Christopher, 43, USA. He is also interested in food, and specifically, making the first omelet on Mars. I enjoy breakfast foods. He’s a keeper.
  • Josh, 29, AustraliaOf all the people listed, he’s the one I could see myself being friends with in real life. He’s a comedian (hopefully a good one; there are only so many times a joke can still be funny in outer space) and he plays the ukulele, so maybe he could teach me how to and we could be the first Martian band.
  • Maggie, 24, UK. A PhD student in astrophysics at Birmingham, and among the younger ones on the list. Her choice of photo makes her look a little like Sailor Moon, so she’s got that down. She is also interested in possibly having the first baby on Mars, despite radiation affecting fertility, but hey, a girl can dream, right? (Well, actually, they’re all dreaming). But she seems adorable and fun, plus she’s a geocacher, so that right there would make us instant friends, and we could amuse each other by having treasure hunts all around the Red Planet.
  • Maggie, 30, USA. This Maggie, among other things, makes high-end costumes and has a business selling the largest zippers in the world. I am not quite sure what that means or why we need them, but I would love to hear Zipper Girl explain it to me. The only thing is, I would not want her to be on the same mission as the other Maggie. After thirty minutes of their mission-mates calling their name, turning around and going “what” at the same time would get old and annoying. Plus, wouldn’t it suck to have to be known as “Maggie L.” on Earth, kind of like the multiple Ashleys on this season of The Bachelor?
  • Kenya, 36, USA. She is a world traveler, a blogger, and seems like an overall nice person. She reminds me a lot of my friend Monica back in Houston whom I miss very very much, motherly and caring yet fun and agreeable. Call me what you want, but having a mom figure in space might be helpful, especially in reminding me to tighten the strap on my oxygen tank when going out for a walk and putting on a scarf and hat, for heaven’s sake, because it’s cold out there and we only have so much aspirin.
  • Etsuko, 50, Japan. Etsuko wants to open the first sushi bar on Mars. This is all you need to know about Etsuko.

Finally, there’s the question…would I ever go to Mars? There are some positives, like never having to worry about debt or taxes or running into people from high school. However, there’s only a limited amount of things like food and medical supplies and, oh yeah, oxygen in space, which would make things difficult. Not to mention the loneliness…wouldn’t it suck if all of a sudden (or over time) everyone in your group died, and you were pretty much alone for all of eternity? Plus, there’s no Starbucks, Kohl’s, or Target on Mars yet, so I’d probably kill for a caramel macchiato, and all my Kohl’s cash would expire.

Oh well.

At least maybe we could find some actual interplanetary competition for the Miss Universe pageant.