Mars One Mission is still alive

Mission of No Return: The Mars One Project

On July 21, 1969, the American spacemen Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin set foot on another celestial body for the first time in human history: the moon. At that time, more than 500 million people worldwide watched the moon landing on their television screens. The sentence: "That’s one small step for a man but a giant leap for mankind" has since symbolized the conquest of space by man.

Conquering foreign planets, exploring them and even making them habitable: the dream of many astronomers has always been the subject of countless fantasy and science fiction stories. It has not yet come true. But that could change soon.

The private foundation "Mars One" from the Netherlands wants to achieve in ten years what NASA has not yet succeeded in doing: For the first time, people should also step onto our neighboring planet Mars in order to build a life there and learn a lot about it to send red planets back to earth. The only catch: there is only one one-way ticket for each participant. Because a return to earth is not possible for technical reasons.

Research project or media event?

Since the project was started in 2013, it has been the focus of media attention again and again. No wonder, the plans of the Mars One Foundation are so far unique: Anyone who meets the basic requirements of being an astronaut could apply for the project; According to its own information, the foundation received over 200,000 applications. Ultimately, 100 prospective Martians were shortlisted.

50 women and 50 men from all over the world are now hoping to prove themselves in the next round. Because only the best 24 candidates are allowed to start the seven-year training program at the end of the day and then finally head to Mars. A reality TV show is intended to precisely document the final phase of the preparations and the life of the new Martians.

Again and again, critics are loud who consider the ambitious goals of the Mars One Foundation to be unrealistic or even dangerous. While some are enthusiastic about the idea, others consider the entire project to be a fake. Moral and ethical questions are also raised. Many criticize the focus on financing the project through advertising revenue, the sale of television rights, sponsors and crowdfunding. But the question of whether one can send people to a foreign planet without the possibility of turning back is controversial.

Pioneers of mankind

What motivates people to voluntarily leave their earthly life behind them forever and to embark on such a dangerous mission with an uncertain outcome?

"Mars Closer", a short documentary by Munich film students Annelie Boros and Vera Brückner, which deals with this question, among other things, was shown at this year's Sehs sucht Festival. Two Mars One candidates are asked to put themselves in different scenarios during the Mars flight. While you talk about their feelings, thoughts and expectations, the film shows impressive images from the everyday life of the two lay astronauts and makes life on earth seem strangely distant. Here is the trailer:

The 10-minute short documentary "If I Die On Mars" also deals with three Mars One applicants and their motives. What does life on earth mean to you? What is it that drives you? What are you hoping for? One of the candidates summarized his motivation as follows: "Being able to think and look back and knowing that it mattered what I did, in the end that does make it worthwhile to me."

The selection process for the last 100 applicants should continue in September 2016. Among other things, the candidates are faced with group challenges that are intended to test the teamwork and resilience of the individual applicants. Whether the Mars One project will ultimately be implemented is, however, literally in the stars.

Image: Mars One