Mars One Monday - May 11

Mars One Monday rounds up the past week’s reports on the project to send people on a one-way journey to Mars.

This is a detail from the recently released HiRise image of Vinogradov Crater, an ancient impact site in the southern highlands. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

News from Mars One

Mars One added a new member to its advisory board: executive coach Julian Bolster. Besides working with business leaders to improve their effectiveness, Bolster conducts youth leadership workshops. The Claim Your Future program helps kids develop projects that will change the world.

Marketing magazine The Drum interviewed Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp. The conversation focused on whether brands would want to associate with a risky mission, but Lansdorp also lifted the curtain - slightly - on the upcoming Mars One documentary series. The candidates won’t know how long their “missions” at the analogue station will last. That will create a greater air of uncertainty as the training staff throw simulated emergencies at the potential settlers.

The Paragon report remains unpublished.

Mars One in the News

The Mars Odyssey Orbiter's Themis camera caught the tracks of dust devils criss-crossing the plains at the Martian south pole. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

Graham Mann with the Mars Society of Australia said that the public could turn against the world's space agencies if Mars One fails. He described a worst-case scenario for The World Today radio show in which the Mars One settlers suffocate before live TV. Mann expressed his respect for the candidates but said that Mars One isn’t “the mission they deserve.” Lansdorp provided some talking points, but candidate Josh Richards more clearly identified the rewards to Earth that their risks on Mars will create.

Explore Mars released the Humans to Mars Report, its first annual report on the state of Mars exploration. The report cites Mars One’s role in raising awareness of the human factors challenges that any journey to Mars must overcome.

Mountaineer Tarquin Cooper made the case for the exploration in the Telegraph last week. From the ocean floors to the tropical rainforests to deep space, new discoveries await, Cooper argues, but they require more effort. Cooper asked whether the Mars One candidates “are really so different from those who joined Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama?”

Belgium’s Theater Krakeel closes its season with a production of “The Colonists”, reports Niewsblad. "De kolonisten" is a Mars One-inspired play that follows six astronauts paving the way for a future colony on the red planet.

Mars One Candidates in the News

La Opinion de Murcia reprinted (in Spanish) the MG Magazine article about physicist Pablo Martínez and solar software engineer Àngel Jané which included comments from Australian candidate Dianne McGrath and German candidate Robert Schröder. Although it brings in the obligatory balance from critics, the generally-positive article is one of the few to mention the Mars One candidates’ wide-ranging expertise. Check out MG Magazine’s retro-future video of the two Spanish candidates.

A Canadian elementary school conducted a video conference with British physics graduate student Ryan MacDonald, the Peterborough Examiner reports. Science teacher Mitch Champagne uses an inquiry-based approach to learning that lets his students shape the range of subjects studied. The decided to apply the lessons learned studying immigration to the subject of space travel which naturally led them to Mars One.

Other candidates in the news:

News from Mars

One of three new images from India's Mars Orbiter Mission. Credit: ISRO

The Humans to Mars Summit made this a Mars-heavy news week. Most coverage focused on Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden’s statement that a consensus is forming around affordable, sustainable plans. Space News tempered that in its report, “A Consensus on Going To Mars, But Not How To Get There.” One of the speakers at the summit as Andrew Weir, author of The Martian. His comments may not be as popular as his book. Weir believes reaching Mars by 2050 “might be optimistic” even for Nasa, CNet reported. Livestream archived the summit's videos.

The Planetary Society’s Bill Nye and Casey Dryer wrote an op-ed for National Geographic advocating an “orbit-first” approach to Martian exploration under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Sending astronauts to orbit around the red planet, they argue, avoids the most expensive and technologically challenging aspects of traditional plans.

Mars Society president Robert Zubrin critiqued the University of California Irvine’s research into the effects of cosmic rays on the human brain. He discounts the intense dose of radiation administered to the mice as unrepresentative of the low-level doses astronauts would receive during a Mars mission. Zubrin also wrote a Space News op-ed countering arguments made by pro-Moon advocates.

The “consensus” for colonization isn’t universally shared outside the space advocacy community. Dr. Danielle Lee questions the manifest destiny approach that many in the space community adopt to promote the exploration and settlement of Mars. Lee argues in her piece for Fusion that “the assumption that colonizing Mars is inherently good and that American narratives are universal, or at least the most paramount, is narrow and exclusive.” The Guardian’s Martin Robbins used Lee’s post to pen a more in-your-face rebuttal to the assumptions of Manifest Destiny. “When we go into space, we will all magically become nice.”  Lee - and by extension Robbins - based many of her points on Dr. Linda Billings’ studies of the rhetoric and ideology of space exploration

Everyone may have been talking about Mars last week, but people also did things to explore Mars: