The Ache of Mars One
I wrote about Mars One when it was announced back in 2013. Since then, I’ve bookmarked every article I’ve come across on the topic, almost as if trying to pin down pieces of these people’s stories before they’re gone forever.
200,000 people applied. 200,000 people (or 2761, if you go by this story). That’s a lot of people willing to take a one-way trip to Mars and die, far away from anyone and anything they’ve ever known. The pool has been winnowed down to 100 people.
I watched a short documentary on the mission, and everyone makes sense when they speak about their reasons. Dina’s point that she has already done this (said goodbye to family forever) when she left Iraq. The idea of leaving a legacy. Of starting over in a place that doesn’t have unsolvable problems. It was interesting to hear the thoughts of family and friends talking about how they would feel to say goodbye to the people going on the mission.
But then, at the end of the day, amid all the melancholy that thinking about people applying for this brings, there is the fact that Mars One likely won’t happen at all. And if that is the case, how do these 100 people return to their regular lives? How does the first man who spoke about wanting to leave a legacy find a legacy to leave here on Earth? How does the third man who spoke about being unable to exist on this broken planet continue to live out the rest of his life amid the chaos and hate?
Was Mars One just a cruel joke, jerking people’s emotions around with no real promise of ever transporting them to another place, another life, another goal?
The whole thing makes me unbelievably sad.