Sun, Sep 02, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Dutch reality show to offer one-way tickets to Mars

Although many are skeptical about sending a group of humans to spend their remaining days on the inhospitable Red Planet, the show’s idea is causing an interplanetary buzz

By Nicolas Delaunay  /  AFP, THE HAGUE, The Netherlands

For Chris Welch, an engineering professor at France’s International Space University in Strasbourg, getting oxygen this way was “possible in theory,” but highly uncertain.

“Landing a person on Mars — why not?” he said. “But landing four people and keeping them alive on one spot — that’s much harder.”

“From a technical standpoint, I’d say it’s 50-50 — but it’s still a courageous try,” said Welch, who also questioned whether US$6 billion could be raised “via television.”

At the European Space Agency, Jorge Vago, an expert on its Mars exploration project “ExoMars,” said turbulence on the planet made it virtually impossible to land two craft at the same place, as foreseen by Mars One.

“If the robot vehicle which has to build the living module lands 100km or even 20km away, it will be very difficult,” he said.

He also said eruptions from the sun that release ionized material into space could “burn” astronauts and damage their ship.

Despite the doubts, a firm note of support has also come from the Netherlands own Space Society, the umbrella group for Dutch companies working in the space industry.

Space Society chairman Gerard Blaauw called Lansdorp’s plan a “visionary idea to combine media and aerospace,” in comments on the Mars One Web site, saying: “this merger ... alone means Mars One is worth watching!”

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