On August 5, 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Rover, the largest and most sophisticated explorer yet to be sent to Mars, is scheduled for touchdown. Thus far, two-thirds of the 40 previous missions ended in failure, but if Curiosity successfully lands, it will undoubtedly rekindle the debate of sending a manned spacecraft to our sister planet.
Promoters of this historical event want to send people to Mars sooner rather than later, with some arguing that a one-way trip would be more feasible. On the surface, this seems pretty farfetched. Who would want to travel six months in a cramped spacecraft and then live virtually alone for the rest of their lives, with only bare necessities for survival? Apparently, there are plenty of people who are willing to do just that. After the publication of “The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet,” 400 people signed up for this ultimate adventure.
To most of us, it is unthinkable to consider leaving Earth to live on another planet. However, let’s assume you’re one of those 400 people who want to move to Mars. You’ll certainly have a lot of decisions to make before you blast off to your new life. For starters, how would you answer these five questions?
Who Do You Want On Your Team?
If your trip to Mars is a Gemini-type mission, you will be accompanied by one other person. Assuming you can choose, who would you like that other person to be? Would you select your teammate based on emotion or logic? For example, Mr. Spock might choose an engineer, physician, botanist, or someone from “The Survivor.” Captain Kirk might, on the other hand, be more inclined to choose someone with which he has a personal connection. Who would you want with you when you take that first step on your new home planet?
Will You Get Rid of Your Earthly Possessions?
If you have any money or possessions left after your preflight party, would you give away your remaining assets? You’ll still be able to communicate with Earth, so presumably, you could control your finances remotely. Just don’t forget your online banking password.
How Will You Prepare Emotionally and Physically for Leaving?
Being emotionally prepared for leaving everyone you know might be more difficult than getting into good physical condition. You’ll probably go through a significant amount of physical training before your departure, but how will you prepare yourself for leaving friends and family? Will you store up memories by spending all your remaining time on Earth with them, or will you go into seclusion and begin distancing yourself from society? Perhaps this has been part of your plan all along — escape to Mars, where there will be no Internet, no cell phone, and no political ads.
What Will You Take to Mars?
You won’t have a lot of luggage space, so overpacking won’t be an option. If you are allowed only items that will fit in a shoebox-size container, what will you take? Will you take photos of friends and family? How about a cherished item or special foods? Remember, the closest 7-Eleven is at least 36 million miles away.
What Will Be On Your Bucket List?
In the movie “The Bucket List,” Morgan Freeman made a wish list of things he’d always wanted to accomplish in his lifetime. What would be on your things-to-do list before moving to Mars? Think big. With your new celebrity status, you should be able to do almost anything.