Real World: Mars

A few days ago, one of the topics on the blog was trashy reality TV. By coincidence, on the day before that, it was announced that a company is planning the first manned mission to Mars…using the platform of reality TV.

Let’s just say this merits a blog entry of it’s own.

You can read all about it here, but I’ll discuss the key points below.

The crux of the mission is that it’s a one-way trip. Getting a spaceship into orbit from Earth is costly and logistically difficult as it is; adding a return leg from Mars is considerably more cost prohibitive. So the first four people who travel to Mars will most likely never return.

What’s more interesting is that they’ll be doing it on live TV. The company is going to sell sponsorships and ads to generate the $6 billion necessary to complete this mission. It’s a long-term project–they’ll start by selecting the participants (think American Idol), training them for years (Biggest Loser), sending them to space in very confined quarters as they travel for 2 years (Real World), and then having them land on Mars to live out the rest of their days (Survivor).

The scope of this project is monumental. The coolest thing to me about it, though, is that if it works out, sending people to Mars is no longer a “yeah, we’ll do that someday” type of dream. It will happen by 2023.

These four people will be the most famous people on the planet. They’ll be selected from all over the world, and I can’t imagine that a single person with a TV or internet connection wouldn’t tune in when they land on Mars. It would be the biggest media event of all time.

Imagine if they have a baby up there.

Can you imagine stepping out onto the red Martian soil, looking up, and seeing Earth? Can you imagine that feeling that you will never leave Mars, never step foot on Earth again? Close your eyes and imagine that.

I didn’t tell you to reopen your eyes, so I’m not sure how you’re reading this sentence. Maybe you’re having someone read it to you.

If you applied to be one of the first four people to step foot on Mars, to spend the next 10 years of your life training at least part-time, to have your entire life on camera, and to never return to Earth after you landed…would you accept? Why or why not?