Dutch company, Mars One, has recently whittled down to its initial 202,586 applicants to 100 contestants competing for quite an unbelievable prize: a one way ticket to Mars.
These 100 “lucky” finalists are vying for the chance to ultimately be one of 4 selected applicants slated to become the world’s first Martians, never to walk this Earth again.
Dubbed “modern day explorers,” the four winners would depart in 2024 and become the pioneers in Mars One’s goal of establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet. Since no return trip can be made, theplan is to continue sending four more people every two years to build a Martian society from the ground up.
To top it all off, Mars One has partnered with DSP (Darlow Smithson Productions) to broadcast the competition for the Mars settlement as a reality show for all the world to see.
This unprecedented mission begs the question: is this the beginning of the end, or the fresh start humanity has been desperate for?
As the world becomes increasingly extreme, from the continually plummeting temperatures and record-breaking snow fall, to Sport’s Illustrated’s quest to stay relevant with a covergirl’s nether regions, we finally seem to be coming face to face with the fate we’ve been warned about for decades: running ourselves ragged, depleting the Earth, ending the world as we know it.
While space travel is, in itself, a positive force, something that continues to put everything deemed important into perspective, it now seems to be evolving into our Last Great Hope, something to cling to when society’s forecast on this planet looks bleak.
Although this Mars mission is groundbreaking simply in its sheer ambition, it is also the first, concrete symbol of our collective waving of the White Flag in the battle to restore our home planet’s equilibrium and maintain it as a safe place to live.
In every historic battle, the ultimate decision of Fight or Flight is inevitable. In our case, it looks as if we’re choosing flight. Rather than shifting our focus on the conservation and restoration of our Earth, we’re choosing to look to the sky. Rather than ditching our toxic relationship with oil, we continue to drill-baby-drill, to bottle up the environmental innovation and genius we’re capable of in favor of keeping our heads in the sand in the name of comfort.
We are witnessing the ultimate culmination of our title as a Disposable Society by trashing our planet and throwing it in the non-existent garbage can we’ve thrown everything into since the dawn of time, continuing to seek bigger and better things.
Instead of cleaning up our culture and making things that truly matter relevant again, we’re not only keeping up with the Jones’, we’re keeping up with the Kardashians, turning our attention not only to having it all, but also knowing it all.
By making a spectacle of the Mars mission competition through a documented reality show, we’re showing our true colors as blatantly as ever. How can we start off fresh, so to speak, if we’re morphing this remarkable plan to fit the mold of the skewed values of our current society? We’re starting this permanent settlement off on the same foot that kicked the Earth over the edge: human consumption and greed.
According to Mars One, we are utilizing our existing technologies to make this mission a reality. If we have the advancement available to support human life on Mars, shouldn’t we use it to salvage human life on our home planet? Instead of coming together to tune our televisions to the Battle-to-Become-a-Martian show, shouldn’t we come together to put our focus on fighting for swift and solid environmental reforms, conservation technology, and igniting a global paradigm shift? This documented history should be more than just another vehicle for our post-work TV time. It should symbolize the essential wake-up call our planet is begging for.
It is only after we take every measure to ensure that there is no longer hope for us here on Earth that we should then shift our gaze towards interplanetary alternatives. Either that, or go down with the ship we’ve sunk, respect the Earth enough to recognize our hand in her demise, and accept our fateful sentence with pride.
However, we continue to blaze a trail of destruction and run from the flames nipping at our heels, instead of coming together to put the fire out. Once a permanent civilization is up and running on Mars, what will happen when we deplete every ounce of natural resource that planet has to offer? Will we then spend the remainder of mankind’s existence planet-hopping our way through the solar system in order to hold on to our forced dominion over all living things?
As a collective civilization that is so terrified of dying, so disconnected from death, from non-existence, it’s quite ironic that we are also so intent on attempting to colonize Mars. What we call a miraculous once-in-a-lifetime experience, is essentially kissing the incomparable joys of the true human experience goodbye. It is simply unnatural to have to create “suitable living environments” in order to support human life, when the Earth has already provided a cradle of civilization.
Our vision is blurred by the stars in our eyes. When we look towards Mars we see a land to be conquered, we see an unmatched feat, when, in reality, looking towards Mars means simply surviving rather than living, staying alive rather than thriving.
Perhaps we are, as a whole, already so numb, so stuck in the quick sand of modern society that surviving doesn’t seem so bad. Perhaps simply surviving is what most of us are currently doing anyway, so why change now? What’s the difference if we survive on Earth’s soil or Mars’ red rocks?
It looks like we’ll have to tune our TVs to our regularly scheduled program to find out.