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Veteran Member - Level 11
If there is a drawback to being a video game blogger, it's
that whenever there is something interesting but non-video game related I'd
like to blog about I don't really have a venue to post it. Sure, I could post
it at Game Informer - nothing says I couldn't. And yes, a few of you are even
likely to read it. But I always feel like I'm cheating the system when I
consider doing that. My perspective on the matter is people come to Game
Informer to read about video games, not to hear about my collection of favorite
cat pictures or how my day at worked turned out. So, I don't do it. Or if I do,
I find a creative way to link it to video games, which is the case with this
story I read about in the news a few days ago. I just couldn't pass on it. I
tried, but I keep thinking about it.
How's this for a catchy headline?
Mars One plans
suicide mission to Red Planet for 2023.
The story was posted just a few days ago and I read it at
Fox News. To summarize, in 2023 ten people will make the one way trip to Mars
in a spaceship with no plans of ever returning to Earth. In the years prior to
their arrival, a number of shipments will be sent so when they arrive, all they
have to do is recover the cargo, unpack it...and live happily ever after. We
already have some remote control cars scooting around Mars, so this is very
Anyway...the cool parts of the story read...
Bas Lansdorp, the
35-year-old founder of Mars One, told FoxNews.com his company is serious about
a one-way mission. The company will hold a worldwide lottery next year to
select 40 people for a training team. They will then set up a mock colony in
the desert, possibly somewhere in the U.S., for three months. This initial team
will be reduced to ten crew members. They will then be sent to Mars, never
again to return.
'We will send humans to Mars in 2023. They will live there the rest of
their lives.' -Bas Lansdorp
"In theory, it is less
complex to get people back to Earth once you have a sustainable settlement on
Mars," Lansdorp told FoxNews.com. "However, our astronauts will be offered a
one-way trip. We have no idea when it will be possible to offer return
Norbert Kraft, a
former NASA researcher who studied group psychology for long-term human
missions, says the Mars One crew will have to be carefully selected by
psychiatrists and prepped to deal with psychological factors like how to
collaborate in stressful situations and anticipate problems.
Read the full story here.
I don't know what it is, but I am fascinated with the story
and the prospect of this one way trip to Mars. This initiative bridges the gap
between the fantasy found in our movies, books and games with reality and our
pursuit to reach the final frontier. That's not to say I would volunteer or
accept an invitation to go on this opportunity of a lifetime even if the
opportunity did present itself. But it is exciting to consider. So how do I make
the link between this story and video games?
Well, it's actually rather simple.
In order to increase the odds of this mission being successful,
it is imperative that a bulk of the 40 nominations and ideally a majority of
the ten who are ultimately selected possess a diverse video gaming background
with a minimum of 10-15 years of experience playing a multitude of different
video games and genres.
Many gamers have acquired and honed certain skills that are
requisite for an endeavor of this magnitude. We (gamers) have what it takes.
And here is why:
1. Endurance. As
far as public records are concerned, we have never sent a human to Mars, so
estimates of how long it would take to get there are just that...estimates. Some
say it would take as little as six months while others say a few years. Truthfully,
it comes down to the spacecraft that takes them there and how fast it can
travel. What we do know is it took roughly seven months to send the two Mars
rovers to the red planet. Seven months. Whether you think that is a long time
or not, or whether you could handle a trip of that duration in the confines of
a spaceship or not is up to you. The longest deployment I ever made on a
submarine was 9 months, but that had a few short port calls thrown in to
resupply our food and to give us a little rest and relaxation. The longest we
were ever submerged without coming up to periscope depth to do normal
housekeeping evolutions was 42 days. I don't know if being underwater is more
or less desolate than traveling through space, but I do know if you have video
games to help pass the time it makes the days go by quicker and you don't think
about it as much.
Gamers are a perfect candidate for the trip to Mars. How
many times have you started playing a game and after what feels like just a few
minutes, a few hours have transpired. This would be a perfect opportunity to
put a dent in that backlog you've built up. Imagine the games you could finally
beat if you had a seven month transit and nothing else really to speak of vying
for your time. Regrettably, it doesn't sound like you would be able to play
online though. Imagine what kind of lag you would encounter if it takes 6
minutes to send a signal between the two planets.
While nobody has physically been to Mars, gamers have routinely visited the planet
as a location from many of our video games. We kind of know what to expect
already. We have the "Been there, Done that" t-shirt. We also have the
"Houston, We Have A Problem" t-shirt, so if anything goes wrong on the flight
over, you know...like Reaper or Necromorph infestations or experimental gateways
opening portals between Phobos, Deimos, and yes, even hell...well we'll be ready
for it. You don't get that kind of experience in the real world. No, this is
knowledge solely available through playing video games. We are well versed in
everything from the operation of lifeboats and ejection pods to the intricacies
associated with artificial gravity generators and power plants. We understand
interplanetary travel - some of us may have even returned to Earth mere hours
ago. Others might not even be on Earth at the time of this posting.
3. Exposure. Real
life spacemen have to worry about snagging their spacesuits on a sharp object
and compromising the airtight integrity of the suit while gamers in spacesuits
have to worry about being impaled by sharp objects and learning to deal with
the pain and blood loss while fighting on in their severely damaged suits. Additionally,
gamers are quite familiar with advanced spacesuits including the Hazardous
Environmental Suit (HEV Suit); the Resource Integration Gear (RIG) spacesuit
and even MJOLNIR armor. So, who would you pick to go to Mars?
Also, our little robot remote controls cars have transmitted
images back to us and everything looks relatively peaceful on Mars. Nothing
really to speak of but rocks, and more rocks. But you've seen the movies...read
the books...heard the theories. The term Martians originated for a reason. Let's
say this 10 man team arrives sunny side up on the Red Planet looking as out of
place as Mario on a date with Lara Croft and you have all these uber smart
scientist and doctor types who were pushed around in school and had their lunch
money stolen from the school bully...they're looking like a bunch of Star Trek
red shirted crew members...and let's say they do encounter alien life forms.
Chances are they are more likely to soil the inside of their spacesuits than
they will be to communicate, negotiate or retaliate to this otherworldly
presence. Gamers have encountered all sorts of different alien species and
wouldn't be too surprised to learn they are real. We know about their special
abilities, their evil plans to eliminate us and glass our worlds, and their weaknesses.
If we can communicate with them and negotiate a peaceful resolution, great, but
if not, we might have to result to using aggressive negotiations. Again I ask,
"So, who would you pick to go to Mars?"
4. Establishment. Who
knows base building and resource management better than gamers, especially in a
world other than our own? If these ten explorers are going to Mars and are
going to build a base before venturing out to divide and conquer, that sounds
exactly like games I have played before. In fact, here is a small sampling of
games that should be pre-requisites to finish prior to being selected to go to
Halo - Learn
basic human and alien weapons handling skills; close quarter shipboard tactics,
land navigation on alien planets; artificial intelligence usage and alien
X-COM - The
quintessential game to train gamers to prepare for a life on Mars. It includes
everything from resource management to base construction. It also provides the
player access to the UFOPEDIA archives with all sorts of information on aliens.
Conduct experiments and start production on alien technology...the game has it
Dead Space - To
help prepare for the journey to this planet millions of miles away, a game like
Dead Space is critical in learning what you might run into along the way and
how to respond to various emergencies. A great tool for learning casualty
response plans, the importance of critical ship services and systems including
how to repair them or operate them in backup and the dangers associated with
using the elevator during an emergency and surviving (or not surviving) in a
EVE Online - A
big part of this game isn't as glamorous as ship to ship combat or skirmishes with
aliens, it's the day to day drone of mining and resource collection, a lot of
which will likely occur on this trip to Mars. Also, this game has a steep
learning curve, so if you can master its intricacies, then flying a spaceship
to Mars, landing it successfully, setting up a base with all the associated
gear and living the rest of your life in a world that won't naturally sustain
human life will be a walk in the park.
Red Faction -
Hmm, well this is interesting. Wikipedia states, "Red Faction takes place on Mars around the year 2070. Earth's
minerals are being depleted and humans need more of them to survive. The vast
Ultor Corporation runs the mining operation on Mars. The living conditions are
deplorable, human rights for the miners are few and a disease called "The
Plague" is running rampant throughout the colony with no known antidote
available - predominantly within the confines of the mine complex. Parker, a
downtrodden miner, came to Mars to make a new start in his life - taken in by
the promises and advantages Ultor has to offer in the mines of Mars. After a
routine day in the mine with the typical aggression toward miners and cramped
living conditions and poor nutrition, he witnesses the spark that starts a
rebellion when a security guard abuses a miner at the end of his shift and
heartlessly kills him." Could this be a precursor of what's to come? Play
the game and recognize the crisis before it actually occurs. You might be the
one that prevents it.
Probably wouldn't hurt to play Mass Effect 1 - 3 either.
Just to freshen up on socializing with aliens you might be attracted to while
still maintaining an intimate relationship with other members of your crew.
Interested applicants still have a few years to train and
DISCLAIMER: No animals were harmed in the writing of this
blog, so please don't take any of my comments too serious. The news report is a
real story; the rest of this is slightly facetious.
haha! Wow. What a way to have games be useful there. Nice. But the story itself... That was interesting to read. It's exciting to have the possibility to live on a different planet, but I don't think I could do that. I wouldn't want to be stuck there without a way to come back. If I could do that, I would in a heartbeat. But permanently going there... nope. Anyway, awesome blog as usual.
I'm sorry but you'd have to be crazy to go to mars knowing your not coming back. Maybe that what the psychological training is...they aren't helping you they are brainwashing you to go their!!! This smells fishy...
Well, if there was one thing I remember from playing Red Faction(besides all of it), it was the sea monsters...yes...sea monsters...on mars...I hope no one that goes to Mars is named Ahab.
Suicide mission indeed. Between cosmic radiation, the effects of low gravity, the psychological impact, and plain old human nature I could see this ending badly, if it even gets off the ground. Oh and video game related comment here. Also Saint I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we would be interested in hearing about various topics from you besides video games.
Man, I couldn't imagine leaving Earth forever. The thoughts that would go through your head, knowing you're leaving the planet for good, is something I can't even imagine lol.
The strangest thing of all is people will actually lotto themselves off just for a chance to go to Mars- one way, or no....
It is history I suppose though...
All those hours driving the Mako and chainsawing imps will finally come in handy. Although I'd say you probably don't want Red Faction players there; a slight bump with a hammer and that habitat is coming down.
This is the first I've heard about this and it's absolutely fascinating.
Wow, what a fascinating story! It sounds like the plot of a movie. At first, I thought it would be kind of cool to be able to go to Mars with a motley crew, but to not be able to come home, eh. I don't like that part as much lol. Still, I like your argument about gamers being more prepared. :D
Wow... I don't know why, but I think this is just insane and awesome at the same time. The people who are being sent must be really brave; I know I would never want to do that. Just the thought of never coming back to Earth is just scary. For some reason, this project reminds me of Mass Effect 2 and the suicide mission. Anyways, great blog as usual.
A hilarious blog! Gamers are truly the best qualified for one way trips into the space frontier. Have you seen the new reality television competition "The Great Escape?" I always think about gaming during the show. I've learned that running around with a crowbar while avoiding guards and breaking open a wooden box in order to pull out a tire that must be attached to a jeep in order to escape is much harder in real life. Being over encumbered becomes a dire issue but amusing to watch.
Why is it that Fox News is the only major network to report this story? I don't trust them at all, and the other people reporting this aren't well known, so I don't know what to make of it. The Mars One website sure seems real, but where is the funding coming from? Why haven't any other networks reported on this?
Of what I know about Space exploration, Space X appears to be the most advanced company as they are getting all the government jobs, and they have said that a human trip to Mars is their ultimate goal but they haven't done it yet or announced plans, although that Mars Rover on mars right now is theirs.
"...experimental gateways opening portals between Phobos, Deimos, and yes, even hell..."