Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mars One Project: One Giant Misstep for Humankind, without a Small Leap to Ecosystems

The search for life on Mars begins on Earth - apply now at mars-one.com 
Directed by James Yeats Smith http://nowandpartners.com/ 
Published by MarsOneProject 

Would you want to take a one-way ticket to Mars? Over 165,000 others would. That’s how many people applied for the ‘Mars One’ project, the first manned mission to Mars, slated to arrive on the red planet in 2023.

Official Mars One Project Website: http://www.mars-one.com/en/

Of interest to us at Genesis is the notion that they plan to grow their own food indoors. Currently, there is no proven way to grow food sustainably indoors with zero inputs from outside the closed system.

Industrial agricultural methods are certainly off the table. As for permaculture or other more ‘natura’ and/or ‘holistic’ approaches to farming, the fact of the matter is: soil dies indoors. Period. And there is no soil on Mars.

Hydroponics is not feasible for the simple reason there is no way to supply the chemicals required to replenish the nutrients in the water needed to grow food. As for getting that much water to Mars in the first place? One litre of water=1 kilogram.

Aquaponics? How are you going to get that many fish to Mars? As eggs? Embryos? In stasis? And are you going to be able to regulate and sustain a balanced system of animals to plants? How? For how long?

Now, Genesis isn’t saying this mission is doomed from the outset, not at all. What we’re saying is that without an in-depth comprehension of indoor ecosystem technology, the mission has very little hope of being a long-term success.

But a long term success it must be. The 165,000 applicants signed up for a one-way trip. There is no return trip; no rescue mission. And if there’s one thing history has taught us about human-conceived systems is this: they break down. They fail. They are unsustainable by very definition.

And it comes down to much more than food. What about atmosphere? Air quality? Habitat? There is a limit to how long astronauts can stay in space (and no, it’s not just because of zero-gravity and the effects of muscular atrophy).

It’s called going stir-crazy. It’s called being cooped up in a tin can breathing stale recycled air that’s mechanically filtered. Music, e-books and video games will only distract Homo sapiens’ need for interaction with nature for so long. Imagine living the rest of your life under such conditions.

Mars One needs a true life support system. One which provides the occupants with the comforts of home and feeds and nourishes them body, mind and spirit. They need a system designed on the matrix of all life support systems: the ecosystem.

To permanently colonize Mars requires a new kind of “Genesis.” Only then, will the inhabitants of Mars One have a fighting chance.  

Here is an interesting interview done by CBC News via Skype with Ken Flack, one of the 6,000 Canadians (and over 165,000 earthlings) who applied for the Mars One project. http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Technology%2Band%2BScience/ID/2403760204/ 

Image: CBC New Interview with Ken Flack, one of 6,000 Canadians who applied for the “Mars One” manned mission to Mars.
Image Credit: CBC.ca: CBC Player: Science: One-way trip to Mars

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