Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mars is hell

A BBC interview with the chief medical officer for Mars One -- the first bigserious attempt to colonize Mars -- revealed some war metaphors I hadn't expected.

War Metaphor 1: On volunteering to go, "It's a calling, like being a war reporter."

War Metaphor 2: On choosing the right candidates from the current pool of 200,000 volunteers, "I’m going to give them so many challenges,” he says. “My hope is that when they get to Mars, they’ll say ‘compared to what Norbert put us through, Mars is a paradise!’”

The second one isn't exactly warfare, but it's the exact same idea behind military training. New troops are deliberately forced to go through something that will prepare them for the harsh realities of war, and in some cases, like special forces, the training is more harsh than war conditions.

If we're going to use war metaphors, why not make it truly warlike? Navy SEALs and British SAS probably stand the best chance of survival on Mars, when you really think about it. Living on Mars can't be much more harsh than SEAL training.

I have a better idea: model the first human colony on Mars after Botany Bay in Australia. Every murderer and rapist on Earth should be rounded up and shipped to Mars, whether they like it or not. We'll give them the necessary equipment and very basic training. Bon voyage.

Australia turned out well. Where Australia has giant spiders and snakes and stuff, Mars has deadly atmosphere and no potable water. It took months to communicate with Botany Bay and resupply the people. For Mars it takes only 40 minutes to communicate, each way, and 18 months travel time in person. The similarities are striking. I just hope the Mars colonists develop a society that drives on the correct side of the fucking road.

1 comment:

Brian Williams NBC News said...

I actually flew to, and landed on Mars. Spent a few days there before returning to earth. I found it a very enjoyable stay.