A Colony On Mars
And now we save the best for last. At least in my opinion. Back in June 2012, an initiative was announced to begin work on an incredibly unique and groundbreaking project. The initiative and subsequent venture are called Mars-One. It is a dutch based operation headed by Dutch businessman/entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp. The initiative has been endorsed by a few heavy-hitters in the world of physics and business; and initial funding has caught the eye of a few prominent sponsors.
Unlike many other ventures, Mars-One isn't just looking to reach for the starts; it is looking to live on 'em. The visionaries at Mars-One are looking to put a permanent colony on the red planet. And the way they plan to do it is bat-**** insane.
Mars-One wants to build and maintain the Mars colony via a "global-reality TV media event." They plan to televise most every detail of the Mars colony's establishment. Then Mars-One plans to send additional astronauts to the Mars colony every two years or so. In total, forty-astronauts will eventually be sent to the Mars colony. Oh, and it's a one way trip (no way back). Below is a little snippet of their project itinerary:
• 2013: The first 40 astronauts will be selected; a replica of the settlement will be built for training purposes.
• 2014: The first communication satellite will be produced.
• 2016: A supply mission will be launched with 2500 kilograms of food in a modified SpaceX Dragon.
• 2018: An exploration vehicle will launch to pick the location of the settlement.
• 2021: Six additional Dragon capsules and another rover will launch with two living units, two life support units and two supply units.
• 2022: A SpaceX Falcon Heavy will launch with the first group of four colonists.
• 2023: The first colonists will arrive on Mars in a modified Dragon capsule.
• 2025: A second group of four colonists will arrive.
• 2033: The colony will reach 20 settlers.
On a personal note, I really admire the Mars-One initiative. In the end, it may not work but it deserves a good try. I picture in my head a global reality show with longer life and gusto that American Idol and X-Factor combined. Forty astronauts, each with interesting personalities, different skills and smarts to boot, journeying far beyond the edge of humanity. What could be more exciting to watch?
I actually sent my resume and a long winded cover letter to Mars-One. Just on the off chance they were hiring.
Bill Nye is a man with a mission: to foster a scientifically literate society by helping people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Nye has spent the past 20 years educating students young and old about science and understands the importance of keeping minds active after the last school bell rings. “Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime – the important thing is that it should never stop,” Nye said. “We’ve put together fun, free and easy activities that will make this the summer of learning versus the summer filled with the dreaded words ‘I’m bored.’ ” AN EARLY KNACK FOR HOW THINGS WORK Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has done most of his life. Growing up in Washington, D.C., he spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his classmates. While working for Boeing in Seattle, Bill combined his love of science with his flair for comedy. After winning a Steve Martin look-alike contest, he became an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Eventually, Bill made the transition to comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The 18-time Emmy Award-winning show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central. During this time, he also wrote five kids’ books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.” BROADENING HIS MISSION Bill’s passion for math and science translated into a love of space. His role as CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s large space interest organization, has taken him across the globe. And one thing Bill is very proud of is the MarsDials, two sundials on residing on Mars he created with Cornell scientists. America’s favorite stand-up scientist hasn’t changed much from that kid growing up in Washington, DC. He still rides his bike to work. He’ll pull out his Periodic Table of the Elements from his wallet. And his drive for helping others understand science is as strong as ever.