Toronto, Canada – With the number of applicants vying for a coveted spot as one of the first 40 people to establish a settlement on the planet Mars dwindling down, a Toronto native has stepped forward to declare he made the recent short list. The man is Stephen French and he is literally seasoned with plenty of grey and white in his hair at age 45.
French’s announcement comes only days after Tyler Reyno of Nova Scotia and Marina Miral of Vancouver Island announced their making the most recent cut. However, at age 45, French is much older than his two other Canadian counterparts who are equally eager about the prospect of making history. French is okay with leaving planet Earth and never returning back home. He sees this Martian colony as man’s first great effort to start settling other planets.
The project, known formally as Mars One, involves a cost running billions of dollars and is being privately funded by a Dutch-based entity. Reputable US defense contractor Lockheed-Martin will be developing the transport vessels that will carry four man crews on the 150-300 day journey to Mars. The trip alone would be a feat of engineering given that thus far the only people to step foot on another celestial body did so on the moon and only for a relatively brief period of time.
Mars One intends to launch a reality TV show about the selection process which will culminate in the name of the 40 astronauts who will take part in the venture. There yet remain multiple elimination rounds over the next two years until final selections are made. Among the tasks prospective astronauts will have to accomplish is fund raising. It should be noted that NASA is not involved in this venture which means that the Mars One project will have to duplicate some research & development in their quest to establish a permanent settlement on Mars.
According to the Mars one website, the red planet isn’t really all that different from Earth:
The Earth is much like its “sister planet” Venus in bulk composition, size and surface gravity, but Mars’ similarities to Earth are more compelling when considering colonization. These include:
The Martian day (or sol) is very close in duration to Earth’s. A solar day on Mars is 24 hours 39 minutes 35.244 seconds. (See timekeeping on Mars.)
Mars has a surface area that is 28.4% of Earth’s, only slightly less than the amount of dry land on Earth (which is 29.2% of Earth’s surface). Mars has half the radius of Earth and only one-tenth the mass. This means that it has a smaller volume (~15%) and lower average density than Earth.
Mars has an axial tilt of 25.19°, compared with Earth’s 23.44°. As a result, Mars has seasons much like Earth, though they last nearly twice as long because the Martian year is about 1.88 Earth years. The Martian north pole currently points at Cygnus, not Ursa Minor.
Mars has an atmosphere. Although it is very thin (about 0.7% of Earth’s atmosphere) it provides some protection from solar and cosmic radiation and has been used successfully for aerobraking of spacecraft.
Recent observations by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers, ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Phoenix Lander confirm the presence of water ice on Mars. Mars appears to have significant quantities of all the elements necessary to support Earth-based life.
Keep up with the project by following the Mars One twitter page.
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