Mars One

Prof. Dr. Gerard ‘t Hooft

Prof. Dr. Gerard ‘t Hooft

Prof. Dr. ’t Hooft is a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist with a long record of accomplishments and honors. He was given the Nobel Prize for physics in 1999 in recognition of his work to clarify the quantum structure of electro-weak interactions. In addition to this accolade, he has also been awarded the Spinozapremie prize and has a number of honorary doctorates. There is a planetoid named after Prof. Dr. ‘t Hooft, for which he wrote the humorous Constitution and Bylaws. He is currently a senior lecturer of theoretical physics at the University of Utrecht, Holland.

"Mars One is an extraordinarily daring initiative by people with vision and imagination. All confronted with it will, like I did, respond with skepticism: This will never work. NASA has had ideas like this on the books for decades, American President Bush wanted to launch a manned Mars mission too, and it never happened. Too costly, too complicated, and too chancy, even for NASA!

But look and listen to this proposal properly! Problems are there to be solved. What is being put forward here is achievable! Here we have an enterprise that is financed exclusively by private firms, not the taxpayer’s dime. Rather than political mumbo-jumbo, we have real discussion with the general public. Only people who, like myself, are inspired by the project can contribute if they want. It will certainly be a spectacle worth watching. And, naturally, one thing stands front and centre: the technical feasibility.

Four genius ideas differentiate this plan from all the others that have been proposed surrounding Mars missions:

Idea #1: The mission is kept as simple as possible. Anything not absolutely necessary, all the fantastical technical concepts that have not been sufficiently and satisfactorily tested, will not be employed.

Idea #2: The aspect that made all the previous plans so unbelievably expensive and complex, was the uncompromising condition that all Mars travelers must return back to Earth. A return journey would demand launching techniques and maneuvers that have not been properly investigated, and would double, triple, quadruple the price. Besides, there will be travelers who do not wish to return! You can live on Mars. Also expensive, of course, but far more realistically so than a return journey.

Idea #3: This shall be a media spectacle. “Big Brother” will pale in comparison. The entire world’s population will watch and experience the journey. Many companies will earn off it and be prepared to sponsor. Tax money? Not where it is not needed.

Idea #4: This will be a multinational endeavour that does not require government involvement. Political discussions cannot be completely avoided, granted, but can be pushed to the background.

This is when you ask me: aren’t you a scientist? What does science gain from this? Well, there are also scientific Mars missions. They cost a fraction of what this project will allocate. They are all robotic missions, but in the end science will be guaranteed to gain a great deal from human presence on various celestial bodies in our solar system. Universities don’t have the money for that. National governments have immediate priorities elsewhere. This project seems to me to be the only way to fulfill dreams of mankind’s expansion into space. It sounds like an amazingly fascinating experiment. Let’s get started!"