And in the latest offering from the category of "Things that seemed like a good idea at the time", a Netherlands-based nonprofit television reality show is looking to send two dozen would-be astronauts to Mars in ten years, by 2023.
The television series will be called Mars One and it's currently in the process of trying to raise about $6 billion to fund the space colonization project. But here's the catch: If you're one of the few to be selected, it's a one-way trip. You won't come back. The remainder of your life will be spent living on and exploring the Red Planet.
Mars One is also currently taking entries from anyone, literally anyone around the world. All it takes is a one minute long video and a $25 entry fee to get in.
Norbert Kraft, who is a former senior research associate at NASA and the chief medical director for Mars One says of the project:
Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others, in the long journey from Earth to Mars and for a lifetime of challenges ahead. If you are the kind of person that everyone chooses to have on their island, then we want you to apply, too.
Island? So... this is basically Survivor meets Elysium. Potential for an epic "based on a true story" movie aside, that... just seems like a bad idea, right? My first reaction was, "Holy crap, AWESOME!" and then I immediately went, "Wait, yeah... taking normal people and sending them to space. Forever. That just... that just seems like a potential disaster in the making."
Maybe I'm being Debbie Downer here, but think of your five nearest neighbors. Great. Now think of any one of them being charged with the task of piloting a space ship and colonizing Mars for the rest of their lives. Yeah. The same dude that couldn't figure out how to put his son's treehouse together and the woman who carries her little dog around in her purse. Those people. You see where I'm going with this? I'm just saying, maybe anything that was cooked up in Amsterdam is something we might want to run through the ol' project Quality Control first.
Despite the completely horrifying idea of leaving your family, friends, and life behind, never to see them again for as long as you remain alive, the reality show has already received over 45,000 emails and 10,000 video submissions. There will be a two-year selection process to choose the 24 participants who get trained as astronauts and chosen to live on Mars. The reality show will focus on the selection and training process, with the 24 selected eventually being split up into six groups of four, with one group leaving for Mars every two years.
Says Suzanne Flinkenflögel, Mars One communications director
We are working hard to launch our selection campaign as soon as possible, to open the doors to everyone who aspires to do something tremendous in their lifetime.