Monday, January 20, 2014

Mars One - Ripe for Pivoting - But when?


I didn't realise until now that I live near a town which now hosts a new space agency. In Amersfoort you'll find the team from Mars One, who I saw present their dream at a recent Club of Amsterdam event. They want to establish a human colony on Mars by 2025. They're raising money to build a proof-of-concept for launch in 2018. The organisers believe that media companies will foot the 6 billion dollars needed, in the same way the Olympics are financed.

I like much of the disruptive thinking behind the project. How do we get public support in all kinds of way to back a dream? How do we rekindle the passion to explore other worlds? In terms of grabbing attention it's already a success. A low cost Indigogo campaign has already got them feature articles all over the place. And it has triggered discussions about space explorations and space. They are building an interesting innovation filter which may well discover brilliant minds. Note that the Lockheed isn't contracted to send people to Mars. They are talking about a public financed feasibility study using an unmanned vehicle in 2018. 

May be the science will work. Who knows? But as a social experiment I believe its doomed before it starts. We need contact with other humans in order to survive. Solitary confinement is the worst form of punishment you can imagine. Isolation kills. Assuming they get there safely, the team of four will die of loneliness as the full impact of their decision becomes apparent. They're are global stars at first. But then the media moves on to news from home. And Mars isn't home to much to write home about. There are not enough stories on the red planet.

So my expectation is that this start-up will pivot.    
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