The Zac Attack: Going on the trip of a lifetime for a lifetime


Big Brothers Big Sisters in Saratoga taught a “Mission to Mars” program this summer.

The program allowed children who attended to explore what it would take to go to Mars, and how to survive when they got there. I witnessed some of their projects, including the making of a garden that could grow in a Mars colony. What the children came up with was impressive.

The goal of the project, of course, was not to actually plan a trip to Mars. The goal was to teach children about space and the solar system using a theoretical “Mission to Mars” as a way to grab attention.

I think those kids who participated in the program may be interested to know a real trip to Mars is possible, and it is coming.

Last week, Mars One, a non-profit organization with a bold, new and exciting mission in the works, announced 200,000 people applied for a one-way trip to Mars. That’s right. A ONE-WAY trip.

In May 2012, the organization’s founder Bas Lansdrop announced a mission to Mars was being planned, stating it would be ready to send four individuals to colonize Mars by 2023.

The mission will mark the first time anyone would have set foot on the red planet, and the first time anyone has walked on another heavenly body since 1973.

The proposed mission is very exciting, and it’s no wonder that so many people applied.

Mars One has already narrowed down the 200,000 applicants to about 2,700, only accepting paperwork from those who filled it out correctly and also paid the application fee.

The question is, how is Mars One going to finance the project, estimated to cost billions of dollars?

Mars One representatives in a YouTube video were not shy in saying the entire mission would be a “media spectacle”.

According to an NBC news article, the number of applicants is supposed to be narrowed further over the next one or two years, through two rounds of reality-TV competitions.

I’d imagine such a show would be similar to Survivor.

Revenues from that programming, plus sponsorships and other marketing arrangements, would go toward the multibillion-dollar cost of sending a four-person crew to Mars, according to the news article. There’s not yet been word of any TV deals, however.

Although, there have not been any TV deals made, Mars One began attracting interest in the project by putting applicants’ videos on its website.

I watched a good chunk of the videos, and there are some people very excited to go to Mars, without any guarantee they will return.

Mars One won’t stop there, however. After the initial four-person mission, Mars One plans to send more people, and expand its colony. So, if you were one of the 200,000 people who showed interest in going to Mars, you may have another chance.

Plus, Mars One isn’t the only organization looking at trips to Mars.

NASA plans to begin sending astronauts on two-way trips to Mars by the 2030s, according to a news report from NBC. Other private organizations plan to have people on Mars, as well, including Inspiration Mars, a mission that aims to have a man and woman fly over the surface of the red planet by 2018.

As money for science and research dwindles, it’s nice to see there is still interest in space exploration. It’s also nice to see organizations have found creative ways to make it happen.

Some Mars fun facts:

• Mars has many massive volcanoes and is home to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system, it stands 21 Kilometers high and is 600 Kilometers across the base.

• Mars has a very thin atmosphere made mostly of carbon monoxide. It is not thick enough to trap the sun’s heat. Temperatures on Mars range from -120 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius.

• Mars has many channels, plains and canyons on the surface which could have been caused by water erosion in the past.

• Mars’ red color is due to iron oxide, also known as rust, and has the consistency of talcum powder. Literally, the metallic rocks on Mars are rusting.

• Mars lacks an ozone layer; therefore, the surface of Mars is bathed in a lethal dose of radiation every time the sun rises.

The Earth environment most closely resembling the current conditions of Mars is that of the Antarctic deserts. However, even the most hostile environments on Earth are far more suitable for life than the surface of Mars.

Sources: Random Facts and Science Kids


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