By 2023, the private spaceflight project named Mars One is hoping to land four people on Mars, who would then become pioneers in establishing a permanent human colony on the red planet. Every two years they would subsequently be joined by four new astronauts and by 2033 the colony is expected to total 20 settlers.
Despite the obvious hazards involved in the mission, as well as the one-way nature of the journey, already 78,000 people from all over the world have signed up as volunteers, a number that will only escalate ahead of its August 31st sign-up closing date.
Each of their $38 application fees will go a small way towards helping fund the audacious project, but with an estimated price tag of $6 billion, Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp, will be keen to secure all the funding he can get. In addition to corporate sponsors deals, it appear that Mars One is hoping to raise much of the money through an “American Idol” style reality TV show following the applicants training for the trip, with viewers then likely given the opportunity to vote for their favourite would be astronauts.
Nevertheless, many scientists have questioned the relatively light price tag of funding the one way trip, which excludes any further cost associated with maintaining four people on Mars. To offer a comparison, putting a man on the moon cost Project Apollo around $16 billion or roughly $100 billion in adjusted dollar terms.
Even if the price tag is secured, many more experts have questioned the likely success of the project and are concerned it could end in tragedy. Still, none of the potential drawbacks have done anything to dampen the enthusiasm of the Dutch not-for-profit organization, or its potential Martian settlers. As Co-Founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp commented recently:
“With seventy-eight thousand applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history. These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants.”