Tag Archive: Mars One


Life on planet Media

So far my application to go live on Mars has generated a couple of media interviews, with a third one on the way. Last week the first of them got published on the Globe and Mail’s website, and I have to say, I’m disappointed.

The phone interview I’d done lasted about twenty minutes, with the journalist asking me questions that were very much about short, sound-bite answers: superlatives and top-five lists. What are you most afraid of? What will be most difficult? What five personal items will you bring with you? What might make you change your mind about going? Some applicants want to go for adventure, some for idealism, some because they want to escape their lives on Earth; which category do you belong to? These questions got edited out of the article (thereby removing the context for my words), as did about 90% of the actual words I used for each answer, and maybe 70% of the important content. I’m guessing at those numbers, obviously: it’s an emotional reckoning, not real statistics.

I resist categories and I cannot give short answers, because I cherish the complexity of real life. To me each question could only be answered in several parts that come together like a vector diagram, and to focus on any one of those parts completely misses the sum total of the real answer. Granted, I’m not always as articulate as I’d like to be, perhaps that’s another reason why the words as published bear such little resemblance to my thoughts. Regardless, it frustrates and embarrasses me. But the only thing I can do about it is to try to express myself more clearly on these pages, where I can take the time I need to think through each issue.

So my plan is to get quite a bit more regular with blog posts, and do a series conveying my thoughts as a would-be Mars colonist. Stay tuned!

Summer on Mars

Yep, the Mars One plan is totally bonkers. The are many ways it could fail to get off the ground, and even if it does land people on the red planet, there are a million catastrophes possible waiting for them. AND YET… It also makes my nomad heart pound with excitement. It’s audacious, imaginative, hopeful… the kind of crazy that just might possibly work, and if it does it will be remembered as brilliance. And, in my heart I think that even if it does ‘fail’, its significance as the first attempt at making a home on a new world will make the effort and the lessons, and even the losses, absolutely worthwhile.

Possibly the maddest part of the whole scheme is the highly counter-intuitive idea of choosing astronauts out of the general public and training them later. But perhaps it makes good sense: at least as important as any other factor in the success of the mission is the psychology and interactions of the crew. So even more than scientists or pilots, they need optimists and good communicators. That’s where… go ahead and call me crazy (a special kind of stable craziness is required, after all)… I think I have a solid chance at this! Most of us gave up on ‘astronaut’ as a career sometime in elementary school… but maybe, just maybe, it’s still possible!

Ideas need preparation, and twenty years ago my mind became well-prepared for this one when I read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, a “hard” sci-fi take on colonizing the red planet: phenomenally well-researched, delving into Mars’ geology, the psychology of the colonists, the social and economic developments possible with a fresh start on a new world, the technical challenges, and the wild possibilities. The reality could be much darker, but I don’t care, the possibilities boggle the mind, and vastly outweigh the risks. If I were given a chance to be a part of it I’d take it in a second. Yes yes yes yes yes!!!!! Of course yes! Talk about going nomadic!!!

So I put in an application. Check it out, and be sure to rate me with lots of stars!!