Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Magnetospheres are for wusses!

"Earth? Pfftt...fuck it..."
-78,000 applicants
78,000 people have applied to be one of the first four Martian colonists/reality show contestants. Yeah, remember that horrible idea? We talked about it last year. Basically a Dutch company wants to send people to Mars and fund the whole thing with merchandising rights and a reality show. 78,000 people have now signed up for the chance to abandon their home planet and get sealed in a tube for the two-year journey to Mars where they will spend the rest of their lives in a radiation-bathed, one-third gravity version of Big Brother, all for our entertainment. I don't want to sound like a jerk but doesn't this whole things sound like a terrible idea?

You're probably wondering why I hate science and exploration so much and I want to make it clear that nothing could be further from the truth. I am all for space and boldly going and all that, I just have some issues with this particular effort, not the least of which is the fact that it's starting to sound like Total Recall.
-Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Total Recall, Act 5 scene  4
Sci-fi dystopias are required by law to
feature Rony Cox as an evil business man.
In the movie, the Mars of the future is controlled by an giant corporation run by an evil Dutch guy named Cohaagen. In real life, the company that wants to colonize the planet is a (presumably) evil Dutch not-for-profit called Mars One. That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing until you click on the 'Mars One Team' section of their website. Unlike an organization such as NASA, which is run by scientists and engineers, Mars One is mostly venture capitalists and twenty-somethings with marketing degrees. I think one of them watched an episode of Nova once, but that's about it for qualifications.

Oh yeah, the Dutch: the people who gave us the world's first tulip-
based economic bubble
. By all means, let's trust their bushiness savvy.

Behold: The future overlords of Mars.
Remember the business majors you went to college with? Sure, you could probably let them handle your investment portfolio, but do we really want them laying the cornerstones of civilization on another planet? Oh, and check this out

"The Mars One Foundation will be the owner of the Mars settlement, the simulation outposts on Earth, and it will be the employer of the project management team of the mission, and the Mars astronauts."

"Sorry it didn't work out Rick, please
feel free to use us as a reference.
Depressurization in 5...4...3...

So the Mars One Foundation will own the settlement and be the Employer of the Mars astronauts? Is anyone else uncomfortable with the fact that the astronauts bosses will not only own the planet on which they live but the air supply as well? They will never be able to quit their jobs, and they will never be able to leave the pressure domes. And how are they even getting paid? Mars One Funbucks? I mean, what's the point of money in a four-person economy? 

What's worse is that statistically, something like 90% of all companies fail in the first five years. What happens then? These people will be stuck on Mars, trapped forever in a cancelled reality show. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life on the set of Flavor of Love?
Order now, while supplies last...or live forever
with the knowledge that you helped kill the Mars astronauts.
Yes, it worked for the Ferengi,
but those guys are kinda dicks...
I mean, when we landed on the moon it was because we wanted to prove the boundless ingenuity and resolve of the human spirit, not because we wanted to sell shit. Ok, it was mainly because we wanted to one-up the Soviets, but also the human spirit thing. The point is, we should absolutely colonize Mars. And after that we should build a warp drive and explore the galaxy and seek out strange new civilizations and totally have sex with them, but we should be doing it because it's the next step in human evolution, not because it's a way to sell t-shirts and syndication rights. 

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