Dutch reality TV show offers one-way trip to Mars

A television company in Holland is seeking volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars. The good news is that the sort of people who would volunteer to be on a reality TV show will be on a one-way trip to Mars.

Mars One was founded in 2010 by 36-year-old engineer Bas Lansdorp, who told ABC News he has a road map and financing plan for the project, and that "the mission is perfectly feasible."

In order to raise the estimated $6 billion required to fund such an ambitious project, Lansdorp says that it hopes to capitalize on vast public interest in a manned mission to Mars by selling global broadcasting rights to the mission.

Seems legit.

From the company website:

Mars One is a not-for-profit organization that will take humanity to Mars in 2023, to establish the foundation of a permanent settlement from which we will prosper, learn, and grow. Before the first crew lands, Mars One will have established a habitable, sustainable settlement designed to receive astronauts every two years. To accomplish this, Mars One has developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, in motion through the integration of existing suppliers and experts in space exploration. We invite you to participate in this journey, by sharing our vision with your friends, by supporting our effort and, perhaps, by becoming the next Mars astronaut yourself.
More: Reuters TV, ABC News, and here's the company website for "Mars One."


    1. Please, please, send Kate Middleton and save us from being unable to enter stores without seeing dead trees featuring her ugly mug and making a huge deal of what she’s wearing. On Mars, she’ll wear a spacesuit just like everyone else, and she can pick up some skills and talents to earn the camera time.

      1. Come. Come. She is a highly skilled social climber – any inept ignorant oik would have aimed for Oxbridge.

      2. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

        Be angry at the morons who BUY those dead trees and ridicule them publicly. I think the royal family is a waste of time too, but why you’re hating on Kate specifically is a bit odd.

      1. We could probably save a lot of money if we just TELL him he’s taking a capsule to Mars, then lock him in an old RV and dump it in the middle of the Pacific.

    2. I’ve already started a campaign to make Justin Bieber the first man on Mars.

  1. Well… drop the stupid Reality-TV part, and I would be interested… if I had no family (convenient one to blame my chickening out). I still remember when I realized as a kid, looking up at the stars, that if I ever got the opportunity to go to space I would… even if it was a one way trip. (But I have now a family… and… yeah… but still…).

    But somehow I suspect that “Mars One has developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible” isn’t quite as precise, realistic, economical, or logistically feasible as they make it out to be.

    1. I share your distaste for reality TV but in this case it really wouldn’t make much difference: astronauts get watched 24/7 anyway, and as you wouldn’t be going back to earth, whether or not the handful of technicians keeping tabs on you were joined by the ten million slackest-jawed folk on the planet would be of little consequence.

      1. astronauts get watched 24/7 anyway

        But there’s not a producer whispering in Buzz’s ear that Neil was talking shit about his girlfriend and stole his AXE Body Spray.

    1. When Earth is eaten by a giant mutant star goat these people are just gonna laugh their asses off.

  2. Interestingly in the Mars books Kim Stanley Robinson posits a sort of reality show… although there aren’t contests, confession booths, or voting people off the Ares, the personal dramas of the main characters (the first 100 settlers) are being broadcast back to Earth and are the subject of a lot of discussion there. 

  3. Wouldn’t it be easier, cheaper, and more fun to just pretend to send them to Mars? The technology for simulating a flight to Mars is easily within our reach, the people “going” will not be expert enough to find any flaws in the experience. since they would be in contained environments and environmental suits the entire time it seems like it would be pretty easy to fake, except for the gravity, and that’s close enough tatht you could probably get people to convince themselves that it’s a little lighter just by calibrating all the scales down.

    1. There was a British reality TV show about 7 years ago called Space Cadets in which a bunch of hopefuls were sent to “Russia” to train as astronauts before taking a manned mission into space.

      The plane taking them to “Russia” circled for a few hours before landing in an old RAF base in Suffolk that had been dressed to look like “Russia”. This little deception required that the participants were total suckers and not in the least bit inquisitive about their surroundings (UK-style sockets would have been a giveaway for me).
      They spent five days in “space” before being told that they’d never left the ground and were actually in a flight simulator in a hangar near Lowestoft.

      1.  Given that it’s STILL. FUCKING. SNOWING. here, convincing folks they’re in Russia would be relatively simple…

          1. We laugh at your temperate weather! It was so hot here they had to add extra colours to the heatmap a couple months back!

          2. We’ll be there soon. I think that last year ended up five or six degrees above average.

          3. I’m less worried about the heat and more worried that our rainfall has gone from 5 inches per year to 2½ inches per year.  You don’t know sad until you’ve seen a barrel cactus dead from dehydration.

      2. I will have to look that up. Still, I think it would be more fun to watch if it was done over, say, 6 years. SPACE MADNESS!

      3. Like the clue isn’t in the fucking title. Do you wanna be a space cadet? Yeah, far out, man.

      4. According to the Wikipedia entry for the show: “The production crew went so far as to replace lightswitches and electrical outlets in the barracks with Russian standard.”

    2. Anyone in here read Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra? One of my favorite novellas, and it talks about this.

    1. We could all go to Mars and leave the reality contestants here. The way things are going it might be our best option.

    2. Sure. Think of how much money we would save on shipping and fuel by not having to include things like water, food, space suits or oxygen.

      Stack ’em like cord wood and launch ’em into the sun…

  4. Why the negativity? I would totally volunteer for this – if being on reality TV is the cost of getting to be one of the first people on Mars, it’s worth it. And I imagine that there are enough interesting people who would want to do it as well that it would be a pretty fun reality TV show to be on.

    I once auditioned for a reality TV show – Escape From Experiment Island. They called me to be on it but I couldn’t get out of work. That was probably a good thing because EFEI was kinda a cheap knock-off of Junkyard Wars, which is the show I really wanted to be on. They may be outliers, but shows like Junkyard Wars and Mythbusters show that not all reality TV sucks.

    1. The negativity probably stems from considering the following question: when was the last time you saw a reality show and thought that you’d like to spend the rest of your life with people exactly like them?

      1. I would spend the rest of my life on Mars with the cast and crew of Mythbusters. I can’t think of a better way to go.

          1. Now I’m going to spend all day daydreaming about me and Kari Byron taming the mighty buggalo and raising up a litter of Martians to help out on the ranch.

          2. My friend used to read and action all the viewer mail from fans of Mythbusters. She said that a creepy number of letter are sent to Kari from people in prison requesting a signed photo.

            Once when I was at my friend’s place she was going through a couple of weeks worth of Mythbusters mail and there was at least 6 in there of that nature. Also the absolute most adorable letters from kids, evah & VERY, VERY stupid suggestions of ‘myths’ to bust.

          1. Not sure about self-targeted vomiting but my “analysis” of Japanese pr0n would suggest that if I spewed on you or vice versa it might be…

          2. Has a rating of 7.8 from 1,615 votes 8/

            (that emoticon is supposed to be boggly eyes with an unsure mouth, I don’t think it’s self-evident unfortunately)

    2.  I agree, if you remove the “people selected to be the most inflammatorily backstabbing and idiotic, being directed by a team of producers to break their previous records of inflmmatory bakcstabbiness and idiocy” reality tv just means “documentary series” which can be pretty amazing. If calling it reality tv instead of documentary bring in a few million more viewers where’s the harm?

      1. Add ‘reality TV’ to ‘bloatware’ as the misunderstood concepts of 2013. I’d also contend that Junkyard Wars is not reality TV either.. I don’t remember the last time real people had a junkyard and workshop at their disposal. It’s a game show.

        1. I didn’t really know Junkyard Wars so I didn’t feel fit to judge, although the 20 second look at the wikipedia article on it made me tend to agree with you.

  5. I’m loving the idea that you can get all those landers neatly lined up like that. This would be one of their “existing technologies” presumably. Perhaps NASA needs to give them a ring next time they want to put a rover down on the surface.

    There’s a really good report which lays out the challenges inherent in landing any appreciable mass of payload into a pre-defined area on the surface of Mars:http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/39664/1/05-3869.pdf

    The TLDR version is down to Mars has a decent gravity, but a thin atmosphere, so things come down fast, but don’t get slowed down very much in the atmosphere, so you need really big parachutes and retrorockets, but even with these you get very little time to make course corrections in response to unexpected things on the ground, like sloping surfaces and rocks.

    1. But the Curiosity landing has demonstrated that it’s easy as pie to put people on Mars. Easy as pie!

    2. Once the first lander is on the surface your next lander will have a transponder to aim for. By navigating while aerobraking it should be possible to get very close to the first lander, and even closer during the powered landing. But I wouldn’t land that close because you will blow rocks all over the other vehicle, so I suspect they used a wheeled vehicle to drag it into position.

    3. I saw the promo vid for this a couple of weeks ago. Despite thinking that the BB crew might like it I decided not to send it through because it seems like such a silly project. If something goes wrong with your process to grow food or produce water then you’re completely screwed. How many fail-safes are required to be safe when you’re YEARS away from help?

      The last thing that made me go: this is crud is that the people who made that mockup had absolutely NO creativity. See those pods? Do they remind you of anything that’s been in the news lately?


    1. Why not just try to score a one-way ticket to Antarctica? The temperatures are similar, but you don’t have to bring all your own air and water.

  6. Seems like a much grander way to off yourself than jumping off a bridge or suicide by cop. Hell, if you’re in your twilight years and lonely it would be pretty cool to go into space and see another planet as your last hurrah..

  7. Take a look at the lawman
    Beating up the wrong guy
    Oh man!  Wonder if he’ll ever know
    He’s in the best selling show

    1. Is there life on Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      aaa  haaa aaars?

      Edit: Missed the “h”.

  8. In 2023 Mars One was better known as The Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship doomed to drift in space forever.

  9. Aren’t they still trying to figure out if the immune systems of proposed cosmonauts will simply shut down before they even get to Mars? That’s a real thing, right?

  10. I’m so curious about the quality of the volunteers they would get, when what they are essentially volunteering for is to be marooned for life in Antarctica, only less hospitible due to lack of air and water.  Imagine something less pleasant and more dangerous than McMurdo station, and you’ll never get away from anyone you find annoying over the years.  Maybe the producers need to go back and reexamine that ‘and return him safely to the earth’ part of the Apollo mission statement?

      1. Me too.

        Wait, is this a Chinese plot to get everyone out of Australia so they can take all the minerals without paying??

    1. Your ticket comes with a packet of carrot seeds and a five-gallon container of Miracle-Gro. The rest is up to you.

      1. As long as they let me bring some blue green algae, reverse transcriptase, and a thermocycler, I’m good to go.

  11. The problem isn’t that you’ll be watched 24/7.

    It is when you stop being watched 24/7.

    That is, when the audience back home realizes that life on Mars is pretty damn boring:

    Expeditions on the surface will reveal . . . well, pretty much variations on a theme of what we’ve seen  already. More dusty brown plains and hills with the occasional crater to break the monotony.

    The Mars colony will consist of a series of what amount to trailer homes, with few windows or futuristic amenities. Soaring glass domes enclosing idyllic gardens and lawns? Sorry, that sort of thing takes money to bring along, or decades to make locally.

    The day-to-day activities required to keep a low-rent colony going will be tedious and often dirty, requiring careful scheduling and cooperation. (It might be fun watching Randian ubermensch bitching about having to do scut work, and getting yelled at by the Chore Enforcement Committee.)

    After a year or so, who is going to watch that? Without the advertising revenue, how will resupply missions be sent? Because you can be damn sure, absent a miraculous advance in nanofabrication technology, that replacement equipment and supplies will have to be sent out there.

  12. It would be a hit — until viewers get bored and they launch the next season of Game of Thrones.


      Well, in fairness, I think an argument could be made that it would end up being a pretty short time.

  13. Countdown get ready for the blast off
    And don’t forget the hype, we’re going into space
    Distinguished scientists and pesky senator
    And monkey turds leaking from the lab
    All brought to us play-by-play by Howard Cosell

    You’re going where no man has gone before
    So don’t ask us where that is, we have no idea
    You’re chosen for this great mission
    Because we owe you some favors
    And besides you’re bright, a little too bright

    Step one, senator, your vomit
    It’s time to analyze it for the folks back home
    Open the hatch launch, the war satellite
    That the commies aren’t supposed to know about
    Our real challenge is to keep it a secret from the press back home

    You’re going where no man has gone before
    So don’t ask us where that is, we have no idea
    You’re chosen for this great mission
    Because you’re hearty and strong and make a lot of fuss
    Especially around us, we like you better when you’re far away

    Have you noticed you’re going the wrong direction
    We have but that’s your problem, we planned it that way
    We had to dispose of all of you so we can spoil the final frontier
    How dare you question our Star Wars plans
    For the farce that they are?

    You’re going where no man has gone before
    For rockin’ the boat in our temple of doom
    You’re on a one-way ticket to Pluto
    We wash our hands off you and your lost ark
    Don’t forget to write
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

  14. This would be really fun to watch for the first few weeks. Then when everyone on the ship changes their mind and decides it was a mistake, it becomes the longest snuff film in history.

     IIRC Biosphere 2 didn’t fare any better.

  15.  If I didn’t have kids I would do it.  In 20 years, if they need an old fart social scientist/yoga teacher, I’ll do it then.  If my kids could come, and there seemed a reasonable chance of survival, I might consider it now – if it wasn’t set up to be some lunatic social drama thing.

    And if people go live on Mars and it is televised I will definitely consider getting cable again.

  16. So, spending the rest of your life in a place where you have to make your own air and water, let alone everything else, is one thing…

    But what about the cosmic rays? AFAIK Mars doesn’t have a magnetosphere to speak of…

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