In 2012, the nonprofit Mars One announced plans to colonize the Red Planet. The number of applicants wanting a spot on the four-person spaceship was surprisingly high, according to the company, reaching over 200,000 people from all over the world.
But, in reality, only about 4,000 people actually completed the application process, which (of course) required paying a fee. There are now about 600 finalists. All of them know that those who go will never return to Earth.
A one-way trip to mars is also called a suicide mission.
The Guardian interviewed some of the Mars One finalists, who are ready to leave the earthly life behind and risk their lives. A physics student in the UK, one of the volunteers to step on Mars, thinks “the most important thing to do in life is to leave legacy” and the trip to Mars will be his legacy.
A 29-year old Iraqi-American woman, another applicant for a trip to Mars, was born and raised in Iraq. In that culture she felt she was treated like an object, forced to hide her entire body. She was not happy…
She said that if she ever makes it to Mars it is going to be the same experience as her moving to the United States. “If you die here or there it does not really matter, why you are going to die matters for me. If I die on Mars that will be an accomplishment,” adds the young lady.
For a young doctor from Mozambique this world is not a good place to live in anymore. “There are so many diseases, natural disasters, and so many problems that it is not possible to solve” – says the young doctor, you likes to see a better world compared to this one.
All three of them are happy to sacrifice their future for a place in history. They are not afraid of death, because they are determined to go on a life-changing mission not only for them but also for the entire humankind.
But how O.K. is it to allow explorers to explore the unexplored? Does a one-way trip to Mars comply the norms of ethics? Keeping in mind that all the applicants choose to be sent to another planet for the greater good the answer to the given questions can be “yes”, however none of them really have a full grasp of what they have signed up for until they get there and that’s the point of no return.
The seemingly ordinary people are allowed to participate in an experiment that could be not only dangerous but also fatal. No matter how scary this sounds, people have the right to make independent decisions even if they are sacrificing their lives as long as they are not affecting those who do not want to be involved.
The first steps toward colonization of Mars will definitely be made and there might be an urgent need for that. As one of the applicants from Mozambique said: Earth is not a good place to live in, with all those diseases, wars, natural disasters and unfixable problems. Sometimes, one might have a feeling that we know only one part of the whole story – the intensified explorations of other planets might be the result of just a scientific curiosity, but what if the Planet Earth is in real danger?
Considering the saddening environmental conditions on Earth, it might be necessary to start preparing the new base on the other planet in order to save humanity.
So, even the most unethical activity at first glance might the right thing to do.