Fly to Mars, for free!

Whether it’s wishful thinking on a large-scale, or a serious effort to colonise the red planet, the Mars One project is certainly a case of dreaming big and then trying to turn that dream into a reality. The catch is that there’s no return flight!

Show me the money

There are many innovative and novel aspects to this project. One obvious question is where will the $6.7 billion funding come from? Some will come from crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing has been around for a while now through sites like KickStarter and Pozible. But never has such an ambitious project been targeted through crowdsourcing.

Reality TV used to crowdsource funding

The other aspect of the funding is where things start to get truly innovative and interesting. The whole process of choosing the contestants, and probably a good deal of the 8 years of astronaut training that the winners go through, will be broadcast as a Reality TV show. To the best of my knowledge, Reality TV has never been used as a fundraising source for a specific project. So perhaps Reality TV will become the ultimate form of crowdsourcing? And possibly this will open the door for all sorts of specialty Reality TV shows in the future?

Is it really possible?

But back to Mars. The idea of a private enterprise sending people to Mars seems like wishful thinking. But consider that the Ansari X Prize lead to development of space flight business Virgin Galactic. So we already have an example of space frontiers being overcome by private enterprise and maybe this thing does have some legs.

Who would volunteer?

Even though it’s a one-way trip, there are tens of thousands of people applying from all across the globe. And the psychology and motivation of the applicants makes for interesting reading.

So would you take a place if it was offered?  I’m a definite maybe. What about you?