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Updated: 01/16/2014 08:00:02AM

Life in Florida

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Would you give up life as you know it to live in a colony on Mars?

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This article is far from being about life in Florida. In fact it is 33.9 million miles or more away. Outer space to be exact.

MSN news reported this week on a private company headed to Mars in 2022. More than 1,058 candidates from around the globe have been selected from 200,000 people who applied to live on Mars. Of those 1,058 candidates, 297 were Americans, 75 from Canada, and 62 from India.

There is only one problem with this chance of a lifetime. It’s a one-way trip.

Two Dutch men started looking for project funding in 2011 to establish a permanent human colony on Mars by 2025. Applicants must undergo intense testing and be able to cope with isolation. Planners are looking for crew members to be explorer types, get along well with others, and work well in groups.

In 2016 the candidates will receive a demonstration of the mission. The training period will last eight years. Two years later the group will send a rover to Mars to determine the best place to settle. In 2020 the cargo mission will be launched with two living units, two life support units, another rover, and a supply unit. The two rovers will set up the settlement location and activate life support before the crew arrives. In 2022 the first crew of four people will launch and a year later will land on Mars. That first crew will construct homes, grow food, and prepare for new arrivals. The program will be supported in part by selling broadcast rights. Sounds like a science fiction movie.

According to Wikipedia, Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. The seasons are similar to the Earth but the atmosphere is thin. The surface offers volcanoes, valley, deserts, and polar ice caps. Mars has two moons which are small and irregularly shaped. Olympus Mons located on Mars is the second highest known mountain in our solar system and Valles Marineris is one of the largest canyons. The total size of Mars is about half the size of Earth. The red color is from iron oxide, commonly know as hematite or rust. The soil is alkaline and contains elements found in gardens on Earth. The water source is in the soil and ice caps but not in flowing form.

Would you go? Let’s think about what you would gain and lose in your lifetime. The adventure would be one of a kind and make you famous instantly. You would be a part of history never to be repeated. But what would you lose? Family, friends, comforts of home, and security of being part of the world. Could you live with the same people year after year? It would be like having all of your family over for the holidays — but they never go home.

I think it would be interesting to watch on TV for awhile.

I would miss meeting new people, my husband (because I know he wouldn’t go), my cat, going to the store to buy something new, going to the beach, wildlife, quality medical care, the option to change my address, and losing control of my own choices.

I guess I would be good at growing the food needed to feed the community. but I think I will stay right here on planet Earth.

Would you go? Use this question at the family table or at a party to get the conversation started.