More Than Anything, Mars One Way Shows Participants’ Need to Feel Special

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Were you one of the 2000,000 who applied for the Mars One project? The Mars One Way video interviews five who did, and as I watched, I had to make sure that it wasn’t an SNL parody. If these are the people who will inhabit Mars, then Mars is going to be … just like Earth, only even more mediocre.

You can almost see the slots filling with stereotypical characters: the emo guy, the quirky girl, the escapist husband, the recluse, the emotional blackmailer. The thing that each of these people seems to have in common is the need to find something more, to have a bigger purpose, and to feel special.

Carly was only able to make it through a few minutes of the film before she shot off this reaction:

First of all, have these people read the first chapter of “Stranger in a Strange Land”? The earth sends a crew of married folks to mars, there’s an affair, someone gets pregnant, and after the baby is born, the mother dies, and the cuckolded husband kills his rival. Then the Martians raise the baby. THIS IS TOTALLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN.


Also, is there a psych evaluation for this? People who are that wistful about being legally dead should not be locked in an expensive rocket for months, let alone unleashed on an innocent planet. Imagine how emo the future Martians will be.

I feel like taking a one way trip to Mars is just an escapist fantasy for more than a few of these people, like they have erected an idea of how their lives will suddenly have meaning if they are chosen to be part of the project. Sure, it would be an impactful event to be one of those who were selected; you’d instantly become a historical figure, and perhaps when people on Earth spoke about you, it would be with a tinge of envy.

And yet, assuming the colony is successfully created and the inhabitants make it there safely; once they’ve settled in, what’s to stop these people from feeling just as insignificant and ‘part of the crowd’ as they did on Earth? I mean, if everyone else on Mars is one of the chosen few, that degree of “specialness” has now been removed.

I can’t help but feel that any emotional or societal benefit these wanna-be astronauts will receive from taking part in the one way trip will only be realized if they are somehow able to return to Earth.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.