Mars One is the non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that wants to jumpstart civilization on Mars by sending a group of colonizers on a one-way jaunt to the Red Planet. In order to help the participants prepare for their deep space adventure, the group recently announced that they plan to build multiple practice facilities to give the potential pioneers just a small dose of what they’re in for along the way. If you’re like us, you can’t help but imagine this as playing out something like the plot of Bio-Dome, only with less Baldwin, probably, and certainly less Pauly Shore. I can’t imagine anyone signing on to spend the rest of their natural life in close quarters with the Weasel.
At the present time, there has been no specific location selected for any of these faux-Martian environments, but Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement, “We are very eager to get started constructing actual hardware for our mission that is important for training future Mars One crews and preparing them for their life on Mars…We are going from theory to practice.”
These facilities will attempt to recreate what life living on Mars will be like for the intrepid voyagers. They will live inside a facility with thick walls that are designed to protect them from the damaging effects of solar rays and particles, as well as keeping them safe from rampaging monsters, Marvin, or potential space pirates. Obviously they won’t be able to just go for a stroll on the surface of an alien world without taking certain precautions, so the participants will also have to wear spacesuits when they leave the building. Recreating the isolation that the settlers will face is a key to these exercises. It’s a long walk to the closest neighbor, and you better damn sure be prepared for the loneliness.
Lansdorp and Mars One hope to land their first group on the surface of Mars by 2025, and had more than 200,000 applications to comb through. From that massive initial number, 1038 were chosen to move on to the next round of the selection process last December. In the end, only 24—six groups of four—will be hand picked to become part of the program. They’ll join the ranks of full time Mars One employees, and eventually blast off towards Mars.
Mars One has taken interesting steps to finance their mission. They’ve turned to crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo, and there have even been plans to turn the astronaut selection process into a reality show that is broadcast around the globe. Lionsgate was recently linked to this step in the process. Whether or not they are able to turn their space dream into a space reality, this will be an exciting process to watch unfold over the next few years.