Technology made it possible for humans to land on the moon, but it has gone a step further with its Mars One mission which provides a one-way ticket to those who have applied to live on that planet

‘Technology finally gives mankind an out-of-this-world experience — in Mars,’ announces a tech fan.

AD: Hi, did you apply to go to Mars?

BC: Do you know that it’s a one-way ticket? Why would anyone want to go there?

AD: Landing on the moon was nothing more than a Tintin adventure for decades, until it really happened. As for Mars, it has been the subject of several sci-fi movies and spoofs, until Mars One announced this trip…

BC: It sounds more like a horror movie — imagine people volunteering, knowing that they’ll never return! News has it that arrangements will be done to cremate those who die there...

AD: Initially, 40 candidates will be shortlisted and trained, from which four will finally make it. So why would anyone want to miss out on this chance?

BC: Haven't you read about the Mars curse? There have been so many missions to Mars in the past decades that have failed at various stages.

AD: Perhaps technology will evolve enough in the coming decade to undo the curse and also prolong lives.

BC: In that case, why don't you use technology and find a way to bring the space passengers back? Surely, you are aware that the reason they're staying on is because we haven't figured out a way of powering the return journey.

AD: You never know — they might come up with something by then. Can you believe that the application fee is between $25 and $38, depending on the country one is from? That's probably cheaper than a video game featuring a Martian attack.

BC: But I read that the mission will cost over $6 billion... They will probably need half the United States to apply, for them to cover the costs.

AD: While the reports say that over 165,000 have already applied, I'm not sure how many more will, because the maiden flight will carry only two males and two females. However, they're planning to follow it up with a second flight in 2025.

BC: All these numbers and dates make my head spin — are these guys serious? Is this really going to happen? It sounds like a George Lucas film that's coming to life.

AD: Apparently, a couple of commercial cargo missions have already been made. Besides, they're going to start various missions to Mars to create a settlement there, sometime in 2016. The landing systems will also be tested several times to ensure that all goes well.

BC: What happens if they fall sick or if there's an emergency?

AD: Well, they'll have to handle it themselves.

BC: Are you telling me that while cremation facilities are being made, there will be no medical facilities?

AD: Look, you can't plan for contingencies, but you can plan for certainties, right? But jokes apart, the chosen candidates will be given training for around seven years. Do you know that over 8000 Indians have applied?

BC: Can't blame them. Think of the rising fuel costs — $25 can't cover a person’s fuel costs for a week, but now…

AD: ...it can get him to Mars.

BC: Right! And how long does it take to reach Mars?

AD: Around seven months.

BC: And once they're gone, how will the world know about them?

AD: There will be extensive media coverage, and everything from the short-listing of astronauts and the final selection, to their voyage will be covered by the electronic media.

BC: So that's the miracle that technology's giving you — a one-way space voyage and a long-lasting reality show on TV. What about Facebook updates? I can see a ‘Yuck, Mars is so dusty’ message coming up…

AD: Stop being cynical about it. Isn't this expedition bringing together the best of science, telecom, space technology and...?

BC: More than what it brings together, I'm excited about what it can take away...

AD: I don't get you.

BC: How about nominating all those people you don't want to see on earth? Isn't it a great way to clean up the planet?

sureshl.india@gmail.com

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