Everyone and their mother wants to send people to Mars these days. Dutch spaceflight nonprofits, President Obama, and even Buzz Aldrin have seriously discussed plans to put humans on the inhospitable planet in the next few decades. But what happens when they get there?
The aforementioned nonprofit, Mars One, hopes to turn the first human colonization of another planet into a reality TV show, allowing people on Earth to watch the settlers' every move. As the Guardian points out, though, the first few permanent Mars colonists will face more than just a freezing, dust-ridden environment. They're also likely to careen over the edge of psychological instability as everyone back home watches.
The combination of utter social isolation, eternal confinement in a tiny Mars-One-constructed habitat, the 24-hour surveillance of reality TV, and a lack of mental health services will converge to drive the few dozen people selected to die on the red planet completely bonkers. Even astronauts who know they're coming home eventually can become depressed and anxious in the lonely vacuum of space. Imagine being stuck in a tiny survival pod with only a few people, with transmission delays impeding your ability to keep in touch with people on Earth, unable to travel freely outside on the freezing, barren dustball that is the Martian surface. Forever. Until you die, going down in history as one of the first boldly idiotic explorers of a new world.
"Mars One is either ignoring the psychological consequences of colonisation or failing to disclose them," the Guardian notes. "Either way, if their plan goes ahead – and for the sake of the colonists we might hope that it doesn't – then Nasa's manned mission in the 2030s may well be dubbed Mars Rescue." Until they send a team of psychotherapists, best to explore from home, for now.
Read more on the psychological ramifications of a permanent Mars colony here.
A curious paradox: As the technology advances to make a manned mission possible, it also makes such a mission irrelevant. By the 2030s, robots will have enough AI to do anything we want there.
You're making it sound terrible. This would be a retirement plan for just the later years of a persons life and the "24-hour surveillance" could easily be turned off if it became a problem.
And the idea is to expand over time- new areas and people would be added, so you wouldn't be "stuck in a tiny survival pod with only a few people [...] Forever. Until you die".
Not to mention the lack of a magnetic field contributing to insanity. consciousness has a lot to do with the em field.
There are tons of reasons for people to visit Mars! "It's the journey that matters, not the destination."
Also, read your own articles!
"More Than 200,000 People Sign Up To Die On Mars"
This article suggests all that's needed is some psychotherapists. Like they are super humans. What's to stop the psychotherapists from having the same problem once they get there?
That is why you send people who are already crazy and/or ready to die or dying.
That's why they should send me. I already have the thousand yard stare of a prisoner or war-time veteran.
I probably would not have much of an issue. I am very comfortable being alone or in small isolated spaces. I once spent two weeks hiking in New Zealand without seeing another person during that time. I spent three days in a cave by myself. There are people would would do fine in this kind of environment, they would just have to be pulled from the population that normally would be excluded from high profile, risky missions.
I do not want to die there, thank you.
Earth is just one big mental asylum really. We're just opening other branches.
You make it sound like the colonists won't be able to email their psychologist, or their family or friends, for that matter. They will not be as isolated as this article makes it out to be. Buzzing messages, pics and video back and forth to earth will happen everyday. And according to the Mars One plan, 4 more colonists will join the crew every two years.
I would go. I think someone already a little nuts would do better and I fit the bill. I have been alone for long periods and with others for long periods and as TravelinBrian stated, you could be as connected as much as one desired. Cheers.
The constant arrival of resupply ships and additions to the colony combined with the reminder that you're a pioneer. Exploration of the surface, the possibility of finding micro-organisms or other life. The birth of the first human martian. These among other things I think would help keep insanity in check. I just hope there aren't any Graboids on Mars.
@Starz gotta die somewhere, Mars seems like a rather good place to do it to me, when I'm old and ready. Wouldn't mind the moon either. On mars let the deceased choose to be buried earth style under the ground or mars style on the surface as a frozen monument to there life.
Things would be soo much easer if the CIA would release the location of the magical tunnels to the moon, mars and other increadible destinations.
What a nonsense: in the absence of psychologists, psychiatrists an the like - Martian explorers are very likely to become the sanest people in the known universe; the absence of lawyers and marketers could help too.
You miss the point.
I DO NOT WANT TO DIE and going to Mars,
is just an acceleration program I rather do with out.
Starz, adaptation did not miss your point at all, but you might have. Your solution is simple - don't go.
Sure, they'll go nuts while waiting to die on Mars...while the rest of us go even crazier while waiting to die here on Earth. The new Martians will have a purpose for existing in the meantime (forging a new home in a cold & hostile wilderness), while most of us will simply take up too much space in an increasingly crowded, angry, and politically hostile world. I pity us more than them!
Presently, one's chances of landing safely on the Martian surface are probably less than 1-in-100,000. So why worry?
Virtual reality, email, social networking, duties, chores, experiments, exploration, exercise, music, video, etc. As long as the alien environmental factors don't get them, they'll be too busy to go nuts. Besides, some people just like solitude.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
LOL @Bloo-Mahrz I agree. Hey and even if you sent a person that was already a little crazy there's always a chance it might fix them. ;)
On a serious note; I do think that keeping their mind on the missions, and always having something to do/exlpore as a pioneer would help keep their sanity.
- Just trying to keep my girlish asymptote!
Ahh to be a Legend, okay children who was the first man on MARS?
IT WAS ME ME!!
I would feel fine with going, would be nice to be that far away from all the nuts here on earth, I can do alright with the isolation. At 68, who knows how long I would have to endure it anyway even if it turned out to be a bother.
Recruiter - Next please ?
Recruiter - Welcome to the sign-up for Colonize Mars.
Man - Thanks...when does it leave ?
Recruiter - Whoa...slow down...
Recruiter - A few things you need to know...
Recruiter - It will be a long trip to get there..
Man - That is fine.
Recruiter - When you get there you will be isolated from humanity...
Man - I am ok with that.
Recruiter - Communications will be delayed 30 minutes each way..
Man - That sounds really good to me !
Recruiter - Look, I have to be honest, we only want people that really want to risk their lives only to be cut off and isolated...why do you want to go ?
Man - I have 3 teenage kids living at home...
Recruiter - We really don't want to split up families
Man - You don't understand...I am 48 and have been married to the same woman for the past 27 years.
Recruiter - That's fine but we don't like to split up couples much less families..
Man - No please...HER mother just moved in with us !!!!
Recruiter - Here's your ticket...have a nice flight....
Australia all over again...
No matter who you send to a new place, humans will always survive. Mars will be the final proof of that.
It comes down to the matter of wanting to succeed in establishing a ongoing community on Mars. If you establish it with it with a community that finds 'death' acceptable, then things get hard or tuff, they have already in advance accepted death and will not fight to survive for the community to continue.
I fall back to the recent movie 2012, where the well informed enlighten crazy knows all about the world will end and goes to the mountain top in Yellowstone and embraces death, while everyone else is rushing leave to survive.
If all the volunteers to Mars find death acceptable, so goes the mission being DOOMED!
What keeps people sane? Hard work and purpose - of course.
You are not sending people there to die sooner - you are sending them there to live out the reminder of their days working hard at building an ever expanding Mars colony.
They will not be in isolation, they will have new people added to the community regularly, and there will be expansion and change.
The ride there might drive some nuts (plenty of educational media will be a must to fill that time with required and reported work).
It is idleness that allows people the luxury of going nuts and indulging their crazy side. Work and purpose leave no time for such nonsense (not a lot of crazy farmers or carpenters - plenty of crazy office workers).
So long as they have crops to tend, food to prepare, robots to control for expansion and resource production, new habitats to assemble and bring online, etc - they will be too busy to worry about worry.
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Please try to make your posts more objective and insightful. The adjectives that are used to describe the people chosen for the mission are not needed. The people that end up participating in this mission are nobel, even if it ends up as some reality show. This is a poorly written and "idiotic" post.
"Definitely go crazy"?
Gee - glad to hear that a settled question then. I'm sure the dozens of scientists currently investigating the effects of long-term isolation will be glad to hear they can pack their bags and go home.
Is this what passes for unbiased reporting at PopSci these days? At least the Guardian article was careful to talk about the RISK of mental illness.
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