Mars One Monday rounds up the past week’s reports about Mars and the people who want to go on a one-way journey to the red planet. Mars One’s technical and financial prospects remain controversial. Yet the candidates themselves are the most visible example of a global trend - the public’s increasing participation in space exploration.
TL;DR? Jump to:
- Mars One Candidates - TV and radio appearances by European, African, and Australian candidates
- Mars One in the News - Mixed commentary from Bill Nye and Niel deGrasse Tyson, Dubai might host the simulation outpost, and still looking for money
- News from Mars - Europe selects its 2018 landing site, America debates its 2020 site, what would football be like on Mars, and more.
Mars One Candidates in the News
South African scientist Adriana Marais chatted with Afternoon Express about quantum biology, Mars and the one-way journey. (The two segments start at 2:40 and at 16:30) Marais compares the experience of her Huguenot ancestors who made their own five month one-way voyage from northern Europe to South Africa.
Australian educator/comedian/combat engineer Josh Richards joined the Australian Broadcasting Company’s Beyond the Lab to discuss “A New Life on Mars”. (Starts at 2:00) Excerpts from earlier interviews with Murdoch University roboticist and Mars Society Australia board member Dr. Graham Mann provided an opposing view.
Mars One in the News
Lansdorp was in Dubai scouting locations for the Mars One simulation outpost. He told Gulf News that local geography combined with emirates’ attitudes towards ambitious projects made Dubai an ideal site for Mars One’s astronaut training program.
Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp will appear on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalkTV later this year. IFLScience questioned Tyson about his decision to interview Lansdorp, but Tyson remains open-minded about Mars One’s impact:
Tyson goes on to say that Mars One’s overall plan could happen - but not on the timescale they propose.
Bill Nye called Mars One's budgets "ludicrous" and its planetary protection plans "inadequate" in an interview with Nasa's Astrobiology Magazine. The interview followed his recent appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore in which Nye was skewered for wanting Americans to go to Mars. Nye blunted the edge of his criticism by acknowledging Mars One’s role in the public discourse:
Dr. Luk Tyas, the outreach director for the South African Astronomical Observatory, told SABC News that, while the people at Mars One “have bitten off more than they can chew,” their effort will “hugely shape the direction of future space exploration and future funding of other missions.”
The Netherlands’ science news program ToekomstMakers (Future Makers) looked at the latest developments in space exploration and the Netherlands’ role in making the future happen. The broadcast included an interview with Lansdorp that parent site RTL Z expanded into a full article about Mars One’s status (in Dutch). Lansdorp said that the 2023 arrival of the first colonists could easily be delayed for technical reasons or budget shortfalls. Mars One is still trying to raise the $15 million they need to hire staff for the next selection round. Lansdorp claims that Nasa employees want to work for Mars One.
News from Mars
Alex Longo’s post on the Planetary Society’s blog asks “Why Return to the Columbia Hills?” This is a region of Gusev Crater visited by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. It is also a candidate site for the Mars 2020 rover mission. Mounting evidence from Spirit and Nasa’s orbiters indicate that the region was once a field of geothermal springs. The conditions there billions of years ago might have preserved signs of ancient life.
Brazil’s UOL Esporte asked astrophysicist Rodrigo Nemmen how future Martian settlers would play football on the red planet (in Portuguese so no, not American football). “A Martian Messi would need a very different preparation than that of a Terran,” he responded. Thanks to the lower Martian gravity “it would be an acrobatic football.” The thin atmosphere would make it difficult to put spin on the ball.
Other news from Mars:
- Nasa will live stream its workshop Landing Sites/Exploration Zones Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars on October 27.
- The Star spoke with Martha Lenio about her experience commanding the Hi-Seas Mars analog mission.
- CNET interviewed Utah State University scientist Bruce Bugbee about growing plants on Mars.
- Check out Arizona State University’s Red Planet Report and Malin Space Science Systems’ MRO Marci Weather Report for insider news from Mars.