So last time, I talked about the current methods of space travel. There will be future blogs about the problems with NASA and more details on the future methods of space travel.
But today, we are continuing the series talking about how to colonize Mars.
The second issue that we are going to have to solve with any attempt to colonize Mars is the Psychology of Colonists.
Psychology of Colonists
To go to mars, to set up a permanent colony, it has to be a one-way trip. The amount of money to spend to get people on Mars doesn’t make sense for them to come back.
But money is not the only reason for a one-way trip. It comes back to the mentality of the people themselves. People will take care of there homes and colony if they are there for the long term. If they have a sense of ownership of where they live, then people are more likely to take care of where they live than someone who is scheduled to rotate out in a month.
Take, for example, anyone that works for a business. More specifically those that are leaving the company. Most employees will lose productivity and care for the company cause any problems won’t have to be dealt with them. Whoever is taking the position after them will have that problem.
It is the difference between a renter and a homeowner. I have rented my home, and I have also owned my home. A renter pays his rent, and at the end of the lease, the house is the same to them. It doesn’t matter if the value of the house raises or falls. It doesn’t matter to them if the sink is falling apart. The only thing that they may lose is the damage deposit and a reference.
Being a homeowner, there is a different mentality that most homeowners have. The homeowner takes personal responsibility to the state of the house. When the sink is falling apart, they go out of there way to fix it. They are concerned with the value of the house, they have skin in the game.
To use that example in the context of colonists, those that rotate out are the renters, those that stay for life are owners.
Mars One is a leading example of a real-world company tackling this problem. They are planning to send a one way trip to Mars. The Mars One’s colonists won’t be coming back to earth. These people are going to care about their colony, and they will not want anything to fail. Cause any problems caused by themselves will have to be solved by themselves.
They are also doing everything in there power to gather up a list of potential colonists to make sure that they best colonists are sent. They have had phycologists go over what type of people that they want.
Mars One wants people that are resilient, adaptable, curious, trustworthy, trusting, and creative or resourceful. They have a lengthy process to select members that will not go completely crazy on the 5-month journey.
They put out a call for volunteers, and 2700 volunteers signed up. Which is not a very high number of people. They will have to figure out how to get more volunteers. I suspect that this will get higher when the colony is successful.
But why is this a problem? The colonists will be in a small ship on a five-month journey to the red planet. Once they get there, they don’t have green fields to run it.
Mars is a harsh planet that wants to kill us. We will rely on a habitat that must work properly to keep the people alive. Space will be limited. These colonists will be living in close proximity to each other. If they don’t get along, a fight amongst themselves could be deadly. And until the colony gets situated, with fail-safes and redundancy, it will exist on a knife-edge.
What is the answer to this problem? Mars One is on the right track. By getting a large number of people to go through, they will be able to find the right colonists to go.
And volunteers will be the solution, no assigned personnel. Only people that want to go.
Training courses and simulations are also on the right track. Already in Russia, many mars simulations are going on or already have happened. And not all of them lasted. Some of them collapsed on themselves in failure.
And that is vital to the task of finding the right people. By understanding people and how they mend together, then it becomes easier to select the correct people.
Designing a habitat that has the potential to let the colonists have alone time. Star Trek and the Holodeck is a great idea. But that is beyond the scope of this blog. The idea is good, however.
Recreation will be vital. Giving the colonists Netflix and video games will be vital. The ability to allow them to unwind and destress will save lives.
By hand-selecting specific colonists on a one-way trip to set up a permanent colony will allow the colonists to care for about the colony and make it something better.