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Surprising Science

Mars One Wants Crazy-Intelligent Risk Takers For Its One-Way Mission

The list of 200,000 Mars One hopefuls has been whittled down to 660 lucky people. So, what kind of people would make the final roster? Crazy-intelligent risk takers.

What kind of person would volunteer for a one-way mission? Well, in the last two years since the plan to launch a colonization of Mars, 200,000 people have offered-up their names to be on the  list of Mars One hopefuls. Quite a healthy roster of people who would be willing to live-out the remainder of their lives on the red planet. But who are these people? Kate Wheeling from Pacific Standard writes on what kind of individual would be willing to volunteer to participate in this once in a lifetime exploration with no return date.

These are people who see a greater risk as a greater reward. As Ryan, a Mars One finalist put it:

“A hundred years down the line, who’s going to know who was the president of the United States or something? But everyone will remember who were those first four people who stepped on Mars.”

Indeed, the men and women who embarked on this journey would become legends—seen as great explorers who risked everything. Their names would become synonymous with Neil Armstrong—a household name that has endured for generations.

The journey wouldn’t be without complications, though, and I’m not talking about a random piece of space debris or mechanical complications a la Apollo 13. I’m talking about the kind of complications that come from the psychological agitation of being crammed into a tin-can with several other people day after day. A idea that anyone who has ridden on a subway during rush-hour can understand—after a while it starts to get to you.

According to psychologists Albert Harrison and Edna Fiedler, in their paper Psychology of Space Exploration, a lot of behavioral issues can arise (and have). When you’re in a confined space being rocketed into the cosmos, seeing the same people day after day, tempers are bound to get a little strained. What’s more, space explores have been known to get their own brand of “space flu.”

So, what kind of individual would be an optimal candidate out of the remaining 660 lucky possibles for the Mars One mission? Preferably someone who’s intelligent and a little crazy. But risk takers, mainly ones that have fewer dopamine receptors, which results in higher dopamine levels. 

Would you join the one-way mission? If so, what’s the biggest appeal?

Read more at Pacific Standard

Photo Credit: Luz Adriana Villa/Flickr


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