The desire to reach beyond the bounds of our known world is inextricably wound up with the human condition, and movies like the recently-released The Martian feed directly into those desires.
Based on a bestselling book by Andy Weir, director Ridley Scott’s The Martian, starring Matt Damon, has become an instant blockbuster hit. As of October 12th, ticket sales for The Martian had rocketed to over $227 million at the box office worldwide. The film is widely expected to follow in the footsteps of other high-earning films set in space, like Interstellar and Gravity.
The prospect of extending humanity’s reach to the red planet doesn’t just sell books and movie tickets. It sells space shuttle tickets too. According to The Guardian, more than 200,000 people signed up to be selected as crew members for Mars One, a controversial privately-funded mission to create a human colony on the red planet scheduled to depart Earth in 2027. The requirements to apply were few: applicants had to be over the age of 18 (the age of legal maturity in many countries), between about 62 and 75 inches tall, and in good physical and mental health; they also needed to fit a particular character profile.
Of the original 200,000 applicants worldwide, the list has been whittled down to just 50 males and 50 females. Ultimately, the list will shorten to 24—six groups of four—who will be trained as astronauts. Then, each group of four will compete for the chance for the first set of one-way tickets to Mars.
If the mission comes together as planned and the astronauts successfully reach their destination, their first task will be to set up a space-age settlement. According to Mars One’s
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