Thursday, May 08, 2014

Traveling to New Worlds

The Mars One project, a Dutch non-profit foundation created to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet, continues to move forward, with recent news that the shortlist, which began with over 78,000 volunteers, has been narrowed down, and includes 54 Canadians.  (The final team is meant to include 6 teams of 4)

Those who make the final selection will be part of a more than decade long process by which unmanned rover and cargo missions in 2020 and 2022 will first set up a base to create an operational outpost before followed by two separate convoys of humans.  The trip to Mars will take some time between seven and eight months to get to Mars. A new group of four is expected to continue every two years.

Roadmap of Mars One MISSION
It's certainly a progressive endeavour and one that brings with it much speculation, such as: Would YOU consider going on a one way ticket, knowing that you will never return to Earth or see your friends or family again?

It seems bold and like nothing that humans have ever done before. After all, previous missions into space and to the moon included a way for the astronauts to come back.

But not this time.

I can imagine that's exactly how it might have felt for those hundreds of years ago who ventured off in boats to seek out the New Worlds that they believed must surely exist beyond the horizon of the vast oceans. They did so knowing full well that they might die on their journey, might never be able to establish a comfortable life in the new world, and would likely never return back to their home land. But they did it anyway, boldly venturing forth to explore and discover. And they had far less insight into what lay beyond the world that they knew than we know. Yes, much of Mars remains a mystery, but we currently have deeper insights into the planet than those historic travelers had of the New World they were hoping to find.

It is fascinating to watch the stuff of dreams and science fiction unfold before us.

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