We are living in fantastic times. Computers have advanced at an almost alarming rate, the sharing of information is almost instant, and we are about to colonize another planet.
Yes, actually send humans to Mars in an effort to live out our lives somewhere else. This is a one-way trip. No hope of return. And anyone can volunteer. The project is called Mars One and the plan is to have it televised from the volunteer selection to the preparation of space travel to the arrival and living on Mars. In ten short years we will send people on a seven month voyage to Mars, land safely, and begin to live in a new environment. Ten years. That's 2023. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this.
I find it to be a wonderful opportunity to expand and take our first steps as pioneers in a new land - something we haven't had as a species in a very long time. The information we gather will be priceless and at the expense of the chosen few who get to go on the mission. I've heard it described as a suicide mission because these volunteers will die on Mars or en route. The tiniest mistake or accident will cost lives as will all the unanticipated events the people will have to endure. The rovers on Mars right now are sending lots of data so we can prepare but let's face it: there will be no knowing how it really is until we are there and living it.
There is a tiny part of me saying I should volunteer! It will be awesome! What an opportunity! But it's pretty easy to squash that tiny bit of me. Instead I will be watching all the footage that is televised and greedily soaking up all the information I can about the living conditions and human reactions to everything.