When Will Humans Live on Mars?

When Will Humans Live on Mars?

2014, Science  -   69 Comments
Ratings: 7.39/10 from 97 users.

Up until very recently, space travel and exploration has been an activity that only government-funded mega-ventures have been capable of taking part in - organizations like NASA. Advancements in aeronautics and space engineering have opened the door for private companies to enter this arena, and VICE spinoff Motherboard's film When Will Humans Live on Mars? profiles some of the leading companies working to make space more accessible.

As has often been the case throughout history, the drive to make a buck is the primary intent of what the filmmakers coin "Space 2.0." The first company they look to is a Netherlands-based non-profit organization called Mars One, whose objective is to be the first private company to colonize mars. Founded in 2011, they have already begun taking applications (over 200,000 individuals applied) for the settler positions that must be comfortable with the idea they will be heading to Mars for the rest of their lives - Mars One has no intention of shuttling anyone back to Earth. As with most startup companies, the biggest hurdle for the business was financing what is a wildly expensive business objective - space travel.

CEO and co-founder Bas Lansdorp was unsure of how to approach this problem at first, but after discovering that the Olympic games generated more than $1 billion a day in revenue, it dawned on him that the world's eyeballs being universally directed towards a grand spectacle is capable of generating tremendous revenue. So, Mars One will also be a reality television show that follows those space pioneers chosen in their preparation for, journey to, and struggle to colonize the red planet.

The film then turns to space tourism and Spaceport America, a private space flight facility located in a remote desert region of Jornada Del Muerto, New Mexico. Private space flight leaders Virgin Galactic and Space X are existing tenants, amongst a number of other private companies, of a facility poised to be one of many destinations worldwide that will act as gateways for private space travel much like airports do for plane travel.

NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California is next up, where many of the private companies seeking to exploit the industrial resources of space are hatching plans on how to go about doing so. Moon Express is one example, where they hope to be the first company to mine the surface of the moon.

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69 Comments / User Reviews

  1. zainab

    this is the best planet, earth, we cant say if earth is going to end, may god make the earth good

  2. alex

    maybe in year 2223, but in 2025 there is no (zero) chance

  3. lb

    Really...Nobody got the feeling of life on earth. Because we can't live anywhere else. 273 degrees 1 kelvin. this number is the boiling point and freezing point of water. also 27.3 (a lunar month) 27.3% the ratio of the earth and moon. Finally 273 days of pregnancy is the average for a child to be born. Find that somewhere else. p.s. don't mine the moon.

  4. Jen

    I really enjoyed this documentary (and the comments!), I did spend most of it wondering about the realisticness (yes it's a word that I just came up with) of both the Mars One and the Moon missions.
    I am not an expert in terms of space travel at all - I know the basics - but I had two questions, maybe someone can enlighten me:
    - Mining and drilling the surface of the Moon, won't it affect us in a way? (thinking about tidal variations and species development here)
    - They mentioned "connecting space ports" in a way similar to major airports but what would be the point of that? Do they mean that people will travel from Argentina to Egypt by going through space in between?

    Also, the tone of the experts make it sound as if humans are going to need more resources to keep the Earth alive or keep themselves alive, it is an over-evaluation of our species in my opinion.

    The Earth was here long before us and will manage long after us ... haaa humans!

  5. TheUprising

    I will be so happy when many board up and take off.
    If you need someone to close the door behind you give me a ring.

  6. Gigi Bardel

    if i have money i will make a donation
    but only after i se this is real.
    and not a lie .to make money.
    all people of the world are greed and selfish you cannot trust nobody this days.

  7. Gigi Bardel

    somebody has to be the first.
    even that means death.
    the first will die
    there is no question or debate about that.
    maybe later when the tehnoloy advance and knoledge is increased
    we will have stable population on mars.
    somebody need to make the sacrifice.

  8. Gigi Bardel

    to live on mars means no more inports from earth
    about 500 years in the future.

  9. Richard Neva

    I will be dead by then so I don't care to see this film.

    1. Gigi Bardel

      evrybody will be dead some time.

  10. John Techwriter

    This film ends up undermining the cause it advocates: humans seeking new living places in space. How so?

    Well, in my opinion, the executives of people-in-space startups interviewed here are unconvincing. One earnest CEO argues that we should set up rare-earth mining operations on the moon and use water from the moon's poles to fuel rocket ships carrying the payloads back to Earth. That seems to me to be several scientific breakthroughs away.

    And, the young woman who wants to be among the first one-way passengers to Mars says she'd refuse the assignment if a return to Earth was part of the deal. Did no-one tell her there are no makeup concessions on Mars? I say this not to be mysogynistic: I have no doubt that female viewers will be confused by the disconnect between her priorities and her appearance.

    The only plausible business idea involved craft similar to the space shuttle, ferrying high-paying passengers to the edge of space, en route to a terrestrial destination.

    Despite my sense this film is a failure, I remain of the opinion we will undoubtedly do need to seek out alternate living quarters in the future. My concern is that our crisis will come in the near future, long before we have the technology to provide us a safe retreat.

    1. cosmicat

      Exactly my stance. This mission is so premature that its actually pretty concerning. The amount of people on this earth who dont know even the name of the brightest star in the sky should be a warning. The lack of conciousnes within our own societies is alarming. What version of our race do we want to extend into the universe? An intelligent, healthy, constructive and capable civilization? or what we are today. The way in which we have been so destructive to our own plant proves we are not up to the task yet. There will be a time when we are truly ready to step outside but until then there is so much more that every one of us has to learn. I know this all sounds like a downer but it is the reality that we need to accept if we want to know better, and do better.

    2. Shiboo

      9 months later yes, but I have to ask,

      While I understand your perspective and don't necessarily disagree; you make a number of assumptions that are generally, well just that assumptions! For example you assume that all women in the world are as materialistic as the ones you see on a day to day basis! (if that's what you meant)

      Furthermore, you say that certain aspects are "several scientific breakthroughs away"... Well of course, do you think when Isaac Asimov wrote about going to the moon, or when even before that people thought of using a cannon blast to get there, they stated THAT is the way to do it? It's advancement, it's our desires, theories, thoughts, wants and hunger for exploration that gives us the edge (although most of that is gone to shits right now since the world leaders are more obsessed about their place on Earth than the entire human race and our progression and advancement)...

      While I know that most likely the main push for space exploration will be to "fuel" societies on Earth, I firmly believe that it should and most likely will eventually lead to pure exploration purposes! Shame it won't be in our era! :(

      What I don't understand is what do you mean by "crisis" ? An extinction event or us blowing ourselves up or suffocating the planet?

  11. Kansas Devil

    Like all previous adventures, the wealthy will finance the mission for the privileged off the toilings of the workers.
    The wealthy will gain more wealth, the privileged will gain the notoriety and the workers will gain nothing.
    And then civilization will take another step up as a whole.

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      By George, I think you've (mostly) got it!

  12. Bullshot

    First time I've looked at a TDF discussion/forum. I'm very impressed by the civility and intelligence shown by contributors. Mucking farvellous.

  13. Nada nada

    6:10 "It's basically the same as it was for people migrating to Australia a 100 years ago." What a dumb statement. Australia was already inhabited by humans for like 50.000 years, making the place totally habitable unlike mars.

  14. Sacco Svd

    Yes make a reality show, pay the whole thing with viewers and when the ratings go down....are you gonna have enough moeny to send them back?

    Also....you touch the moon....and you have a problem with me.

  15. RickRayFSM

    The Earth will not die, human kind will. Unless we are hit by an enormous meteor/comet the Earth will survive. The Earth will regenerate itself once mankind is extinct. Hopefully, the next dominant species will be far superior to what we humans are. We have more of a chance living on the moon than on Mars. Live long and prosper, ya all!

    1. i_drink_Scope

      incorrect. the Earth will die.

      the Sun will continue to expand until it envelops our planet.

      sorry to be the one to bring this fact to your attention...

  16. Roy

    If we colonize Mars, it will only be for scientific or educational purposes. Mars is a dead planet, which means that it has no molten core to create a magnetosphere. No magnetosphere, no protection from ultraviolet rays from the sun. All unprotected or shielded life will burn up. It will be necessary either to live underground or thick concrete bunkers with EV suits to go from place to place.
    Think of it this way; Every living organism is adapted to its surroundings. Take one out and put it into a different surrounding, then you'll have to supplement that organism with protection, vitamins and minerals, and food sources, etc.
    What would happen to our cognitive abilities if we lived in an environment with no zinc or any other element that gives us the possibility to thrive?

  17. zee788

    Screw you, humans! You will never conquer us! - A martian living and spying among you imbeciles.

  18. sharpstuff

    What a lot of ludicrous nonsense. Outer space is no place for any animal.

    Beyond 400 odd miles the rest of the Universe is deadly. No Man has ever gone beyond about 400 miles.

    Anyone but a cretin would believe that we ever went to the moon. The notion of Mars 'rovers' is also suspect.

    Man thinks he is so clever (especially the Yanks) that he can defy Nature.

    People just do not have a clue about space. They believe in the silly notion of a mechanical, linear Universe, which clearly it is not.

    They live in the fantasy world of their sci-fi comics.

    It is laughable.

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      "Anyone" but a cretin...? That's some sharp stuff, practically cretinous, and pretty laughable.
      You're welcome,
      A Yank

    2. zee788

      Well, we went to the moon, but it's true that apart from a symbolic victory, it accomplished nothing. And apart from a few astronauts who will live in billion dollar space pods, it will be a long time until we actually live on Mars in significant numbers.

    3. Horst Manure

      When did man go to the moon and where is your proof?

    4. zee788

      I can't say 100% that some men walked on the moon. But you would have to have an inter-generational conspiracy to cover that up. For one thing, they placed mirrors on the moon that others have reflected beams off of back to earth. Now, maybe that's part of the conspiracy too, but at this point, the conspiracy starts to become too large to be realistically true. Not impossible, but at this point, not realistic.

    5. Horst Manure

      It is possible to place a mirror on the Moon with a robot of some sort and do other things.

    6. Horst Manure

      It is not laughable to Lockheed Martin etc and all the others who made millions out to this side show and are now wanting a war to make more loot.

    7. tacos4all

      Um, at its closest point, known as the perigee, the Moon is 225,622 miles away.... not 400, lol
      Get a grip kid.
      Sincerely, a Yank.
      P.S. You're welcome.

  19. MD Hurst

    Just send your money now! Another investment scam I fear smh

  20. Samuel Morrissey

    Highly optimistic. Possibly insane. Completely embodies the bravery and pioneering spirit in the face of incomprehensible challenges that sent people to the Moon and back.

    Really love the idea about sending mini greenhouses to Mars to see if we could get plants to grow. If that could be done, it's not a great leap to keep sending them, and start outputting the gases they produce into the atmosphere... Well OK, getting a little ahead of things :)

    Lets go with the 3D printer in space instead, that seems like the best/most useful 'baby step' right now, for cost saving on repairs.

    Great to see a collection of relevant contemporary ideas that people are actually pursuing. Nice thematic music too.

  21. phill jurkski

    This kind of stuff is just the fantasies of the elite pretending that they can escape the inferiority of the squalid masses.Because no one wants to live in the same neighborhood with human beings.No matter how rich they are.I,m afraid that for these high living and low living thinkers their only tickets out of this mess will be like everyone elses.A One Way Ticket ON The Six Foot Under Express

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      Not when everyone gets serious about it... The resources of this planet are limited, so that eventually we'll simply have to do this, and there is profit enough of all sorts (not just monetarily, I mean) to go around. Believe me, I think I know where you're coming from (massive wealth inequality, things like that), but don't be so pessimistic and defeated about this.

    2. jackmax

      G'day AfG,

      Although I find the thought of more outer space explorations extremely interesting, I think we should be more concerned about insuring that our plant is at the minimum maintained to what we have now and not allowing corporations or governments to keep treating ours, as the only plant that can sustain life with the contempt they they are or appear to be.

    3. Airvaulting for Girls

      I can certainly agree with that. :) I don't want for us to lose our sense of adventure and purpose, either, however. What I mean is, I truly choose to believe that if Nature spent such a long time and so many resources evolving us to what we are now, or... probably more accurately for precisely what I mean... to what we could potentially become, then perhaps we weren't intended by her to remain confined to this planet. This is just our first home. But... one site I sometimes visit (futuretimeline dot net) has some pretty dire predictions, based as much as possible on science, about this coming century, in particular. I like to remain optimistic as much as possible, without being naive, but I'd really have a hard time arguing with much of what it has to say about that. We are at a very critical time in our history, but I think a lot of us are aware of that, too. It may well be that we're not going to be able to "avoid the fires" of the coming decades, but fire can also be a purifying process. Let's hope it turns out that way, and work to make it happen as painlessly as possible.

    4. jackmax

      Who knows at my age what will happen in the future considering the advancements I've been privilege to have seen should be as exciting as my life has been to date, and if your are correct that we are destine to leave this plant we should only do that if we leave it in a very good condition.

    5. Airvaulting for Girls

      For several reasons, I don't think we will be able to really get going, in the first place, UNLESS we do. How we treat our mother earth will be the litmus test for how we would be as parents of Mars, or maybe even on worlds much, much farther than that, in some far distant future.

      Edit- You might not want to pay too much attention to the way I write sometimes... I just enjoy trying to do so "elegantly," which probably comes off too much as "arrogantly".

    6. phill jurkski

      There is also a difference between optimism and foolhardiness.Human being are spending what little time they have left,fighting each other over what little resources we have left.My dear-Star Trek was only a movie,is was all a creation of Hollywood.

    7. Airvaulting for Girls

      I'm much more into hard sci-fi than soft sci-fi... Clarke and Asimov, for example, rather than Star Trek... So I'm well aware of the differences between them; one is pretty much strictly entertainment, while the other (usually) does its best to base its content on actual science, current or probably someday possible. If I mention Star Trek on these boards more often, it's only because it's unfortunately more well-known. I'm not quite as naive, darling, as you appear to think I am, lol. ;)

    8. Nads

      It's no solution to resource depletion. It will only eat resources, it cannot reduce the population. The cost of getting just a dozen people over there would be phenomenal ... the cost of getting billions over there is beyond lunacy.

      Not to mention that, if you want to transport lots of people over long distances through space, you had better be really damn good at seamless, no-loss resource management systems. If you can't manage a planet, with all the abundant resources and space it has, there is no way you're going to be moving millions in deep space in tiny little artificial environments. You'll never be able to manage the resources long enough to get from A to B.

    9. Airvaulting for Girls

      I understand that. But this is what this is all about: Developing the technologies to use the resources we have available (some of them in space) in order to get a good start on the long haul. No one (or at least I'm not) is talking about getting this all done quickly, or moving entire populations from here to there. This is not FOR us. This is for our descendants. There are solutions to the problems some of you seem to think are insurmountable.

  22. Adam Young

    a human being with a billion dollars in their bank account is perverse and disgraceful so i don't know what you'd call somebody with a Trillion

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      Back in the Renaissance they called them The Medici, and, while many of them were criminals, many were also patrons of the arts and sciences. I think similar things are afoot even today, and it's just something we're forced to put up with.

    2. Bullshot

      WelI I'll be trucked! I thought no-one else in the world had seen that. Broody blilliant.

    3. Airvaulting for Girls

      READ that, in my case (a little greene booke, twas, many and many a moon ago)... But, yeah, my son watched that series and told me it was great.

    4. Fabien L

      I don't think they have billions in their bank account, it's the value of their holdings. For example, I don't think it would be fair to force Bill Gates, Sergey Brin or Larry Page to get rid of the shares of the company they founded only because their company was extremely successful.

    5. zee788

      Human beings in general, about 95% of them, are perverse and disgraceful, whether those with a billion dollars or those with one dollar. So look in the mirror first, Mr. Young.

    6. Airvaulting for Girls

      I take your point, but don't you think that percentage is just a little high? And, while he doesn't need anyone else to fight a battle for him, I think he's been a fine poster on this site. Cut him a little slack.

    7. Adam Young

      thank you for that obvious fact but some of us here are trying to incite a revolution and your goody two shoes comment doesn't help. we are at war against big business and corporate control in case you didn't know.

  23. Airvaulting for Girls

    If you're space nerdy, check this one out, you'll probably like it. It has yer terraforming, yer fancy, futuristic gadgetry, yer techno-music, interesting interviews with obviously very bright folks, lots of great graphics, wonderful shots of the Earth, Moon, and Mars, and even a brief cameo from our beloved Spock, if you pay close enough attention, yo. Unfortunately, I have to believe it may be just a little too optimistic in many of its forecasts, but I hope I'm wrong. And I have to agree with awful truth: The Moon first, Mars later. One thing I do suspect is obviously spot on, though, seeing how much division still exists down here, which require such enormous defense budgets to guard against, and that is that it'll indeed have to take all those private entrepreneurs to get and stay serious about this getting off the ground and staying there. I'm no Nostradamus (and neither was he, really, incidentally), but it sure looks like the coming years on this planet are going to tax governments with more than enough earthbound issues, keeping them too busy to concern themselves with serious space exploration to the degree many of us would like. Still... it's a feel good piece (part of its point, and it is important to feel that about space, imo) and well worth a watch.

  24. awful_truth

    As a child growing up, I watched man land on the moon. For this reason, I always wanted to be an astronaut, breaking boundaries, and searching the unknown. While I can appreciate the enthusiasm for a trip to Mars, I believe the idea at present to be folly. In my opinion, we will not be ready for this adventure until we can travel to the moon, and back as easily as we now fly across the Atlantic. Aside from the technological issues, I have to question the validity of a mindset only interested in a one way trip.
    Of course, I am now 50, and if anyone should go, it should be me, or someone my age, where a one way adventure is icing on the cake! (lived a great life) For anyone younger, this is merely a suicide run. (you can do that here, for a lot cheaper, and many do)

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      Didn't watch this one yet, but... I'm also now 50, and I say they should make it a joint mission with the two of us. Like you (and, well, so many others...), I watched the Apollo missions, unfortunately just a little too young to really grasp the magnitude of those achievements. BUT... my father worked for the federal government in those days, happened to have had business in Cocoa Beach in '68, and I was actually able to witness firsthand the launching of Apollo 8. It's one of my earliest memories, standing there next to the fence holding his hand and watching that incredible thing take off. Never will forget that day...

    2. awful_truth

      That is so cool AFG. (watching the actual liftoff of Apollo 8) I must admit, I am a little envious. (I am a space nut, trekker, ah you get the point) For the record, I agree that we should be on the Mars mission. (at this point in my life, I would definitely go)
      At age 5, I was watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, and my son at the same age was watching planes crash into the world trade centers. Sadly, one has to wonder how much the thinking has changed from looking outward, (exploration) to inward since when we were young. Cancelling the Apollo missions was a major step backwards, and I can only imagine what might have been had they stayed the course. I hope in my lifetime that we will be lucky enough actually see it happen. (landing on Mars that is) Take care AFG.
      P.S: It should be noted that we have not been back to the moon in 42 years, at least that we are aware of. It would not be beyond the realm of possibilities that moon missions have continued as a top secret project. (example: mole missions - astronauts who were never recognized since their missions were military in nature)

    3. Airvaulting for Girls

      Well, they say that after the U.S. won the space race with the Soviets by reaching the moon first, government interest died down considerably regarding that aspect of it. Continuing going to the moon, I mean... (Very unfortunately, public interest also died down after the initial excitement. Each Apollo mission had fewer viewers than the previous ones, but I suppose that's just human nature for you.) Looks like a large part of the interest afterwards was put into orbiting and perfecting recon sats and all that good sh-t... I agree, it's just very, very sad, and very far from what it used to be. I have an 11 yr old son who's in honors in math and science (and, believe me, he sure as hell didn't get either of those from his daddy), and I'm hoping he'll pursue something along those lines. Here's to hoping both our boys see a better world, and maybe even another world, than the one we're dealing with now. There ARE visionaries out there, though, people with the brains and motivation to take us higher. You know... it's just a long process, and I guess we're just two impatient "old men" when it comes to this subject.

      edit- Rereading this, I sure did overlook a lot of very interesting stuff that's been going on: Skylab, Viking, V'ger (lol), the robot missions to Mars, Hubble, etc. It's just that lack of a human being actually being able to be present that I was lamenting.

      BTW, I've heard 'Interstellar' is KILLER, if you haven't seen it yet. I plan on taking my boy to see it very soon.

    4. awful_truth

      Yes, I just hated to see them destroy the infrastructure of what they had created. (what could have been) Oh, by the way, I am looking forward to seeing 'Interstellar'. I have an amazing sci-fi collection at home. (I am a graduate in computer animation) I was also looking forward to seeing 'Jupiter Ascending', but it's release date was pushed back until next year.
      Yes, you are right in regards to impatient old men. I grew up watching Space 1999, only to see it come and go, with no base of operations on the moon to speak of in 2015. I have no doubt it will happen at some point, that is assuming we don't destroy ourselves first. (that human nature thing again) Best wishes AFG.

    5. Airvaulting for Girls

      Thanks. You, too.

    6. dewflirt

      I loved Space 1999, can't really remember what it was about though as I was quite young when it was on. Think I just liked the greeting/salute thing that they did with their arms. I might have invented that bit? Anyway, nice spaceship :)

    7. Airvaulting for Girls

      My best friend has a 4 ft model of that ship in a glass case in his house... Bought off ebay and meticulously assembled.

    8. awful_truth

      When I was a kid, I had the 4 foot model, and a fleet of 4 model kits, and 2 die cast. Can anyone say child sci fi geek!

    9. Airvaulting for Girls

      Some never outgrow it. :) My friend ended up bidding pretty high on that thing before he came out on top. He has several glass cases filled with all kinds of stuff like that.

    10. awful_truth

      Well, I guess I partially outgrew it since I no longer have the models, but I do have the series on DVD. (I guess I am just not that hardcore)

    11. Airvaulting for Girls

      I never could assemble anything worth a crap, which is why I never got that much into that side of it. But the shows themselves are another thing.

    12. awful_truth

      It was a 2 season story about the moon getting blasted out of earth's orbit, and its inhabitants encountering different scenarios. The show was extremely philosophical, and the special effects were the best in film until Star Wars was released. (British made, 1st season was the best - my opinion)
      Question: I am unaware of any special salute; are you sure you are not confusing it with another program? (I own it on DVD)
      P.S: the spaceship was called an eagle, and it was definitely cool for its time! Great to hear from you dewflirt. Take care.

  25. User_1

    Space flight needs to be geared to not letting humans be in charge of the flight. That's the big failure in this. And yes I know that humans are the ones programming operations. Just don't let them be in charge in the end of the process.