Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dying in Space: An American Dream

Mars One is not the first project hoping to boldly permanently go where no man has gone before.

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If you are at least 18 years of age and curious and capable and resourceful, with a capacity for self-reflection, an ability to trust other people, and a deep sense of purpose, then you can to go to Mars. Maybe. The Mars One project, which is planning to send a group of people to colonize the Red Planet, has officially opened its applications process to public voting. If you are one of the people ultimately selected for the program, if all goes according to plan, you will depart Earth in 2023 to follow in the epic footsteps of Magellan and Gagarin and Armstrong, staking a claim for humanity's extension into a new and unknown world.

The only catch? You will not be coming back.

Yep: It's named Mars One in part because what it offers is a one-way ticket. In positive terms, this means that the program promises its participants the adventure of a lifetime. In more negative ones, it means that the lifetime in question will likely reach its conclusion somewhere outside of Earth. And that's a feature, not a bug. Our new relationship with the world beyond Earth's borders, Mars One declares, "will be characterized not by rovers and probes, visits or short stays, but by permanence. From now on, we won't just be visiting planets. We'll be staying."

For the rest of the story: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/dying-in-space-an-american-dream/275345/

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