Would you leave everyone and everything behind forever to be one of the first people to live on Mars? Not a sci fi movie, but a real living project that has a plan to have a small group of people living on Mars in our lifetime, the Mars One Mission is seeking to explore the idea that we can inhabit 2 planets.
In this podcast episode, we chat with Josh Richards, one of Australia’s finalist in the top 100 – from which, the final candidates will be selected. Josh is speaking at Womadelaide as part of the Planet Talks series.
He explains what the Mars One mission is all about, how he got involved and whether they will be able to walk around outside, grow food, have sex and deal with medical emergencies! During the show you will hear how he deals with technology breakdowns as we have a minor momentary connection glitch, but stick with us people!
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Things you will want to remember from the show
- Mars One is an International Not for profit based out of the Netherlands with the goal to colonize Mars
- We have had the technology to get to Mars and keep people alive there, but have not had the technology to get them back – and so these guys have decided to cut out the return trip!
- They started with 200,000 candidates in 2013 and now last to the final 100 – with 7 Aussies
- Josh studied Physics and Psychology – he describes himself as a Physicist. Comedian. Astronaut Candidate. And Troublemaker
- He actually discovered the Mars One programme after researching for a comedy show about the end of the world, with the idea of that pushing us to head to Mars – lo and behold, he discovered people were ACTUALLY doing it! And the rest is history
- For Josh it is about the idea that a generation of kids when they launch in 2031, will be able to look up and know people are living on the red planet and that in the future you can explore this too
- Giving the idea that anything is possible….
- The first crew will be only 4 people, narrowed first to 40 people later this year through group testing and then isolation testing – to a final 24 who will work full time in the project
- They will then send 2 men and 2 women every 26 months, as they can only launch when Mars and Earth are in a direct line
- In terms of living on Mars, they are living in a closed environment and need to recycle water, food and pretty much everything
- On the International Space Station as it is in a vacuum. they have very complex recycling systems – far more complex than what they will need on Mars . On Mars they will have more access to soil etc – making it easier than living in the space station
- They need to wear a spacesuit outside of the closed environment – the atmosphere is equivalent to being about 35 km up in the air – the fluids in your body start to boil….so stepping outside without a suit is not an option and growing plants without containment is not an option – but an Aussie researcher has been looking at if you pressurise the atmosphere on Mars, the mixture of gas is better for growing plants than we have on earth – by adding a tiny bit of oxygen to it, it allows the plants to respire – it is about using the resources on the surface of Mars
- In terms of people they are looking for personality first – there is plenty of time to train people in skills – they are basically wanting people who will get along with each other and can multi task as they need to be able to survive even if 1 or 2 of the people pass away
- Josh says psychologically, the decision to go to Mars is focused on what you can get from the experience, and what you can offer the world, looking at the gains and the positives rather than the loss and negative aspects – using positive psychology
- The team will be similar to those who live and research at the Antarctica – those who live and breathe being there, they are not driven quite as hard as those on the space station, and need to keep each other going, keep their spirits alive over many many years
- Medical emergencies will be managed more like a military operation – things become far more primitive and practical. It is a mission orientation – if there is an accident and it looks like someone is unlikely to survive but the incident could threaten the lives of the other 3 people, you have to make a decision to protect the overall group, rather than the individual
- When it comes to babies – we do not know how the lack of gravity would affect the development of a baby, or even if you could conceive in the first place. We do not know if 38% of earth’s gravity is enough to support pregnancy. They can not ban them having sex, but they do select people who are not interested in having children, and who can make the best decisions
- They will have access to entertainment – television, gaming etc – but not social media as it has been shown that people in isolation get more depressed when exposed to things like Facebook
- The biggest challenge is phone calls – to call home there would be a 4 minute delay in hearing what the person on earth says and then 8 minutes the other way – they can however send text messages
- Life on Mars will be relayed 24 hours a day – there is a slight delay, but it will mean we can watch people living on Mars!
- The next stage will be group testing and seeing how people will get along and work together – the final phase will be seeing how those same team players operate when they have to make decisions alone, in isolation, with no outside guidance or help
Come along to Womadelaide for a wonderful 4 days of music and dance, as well as the Planet Talks session and more!
We can not wait! And it is going to be exciting to watch Josh and all of the other Mars candidates over the coming years – would you go to Mars?