The Mars Trail: You Have Died of Oxygen Deprivation
Honestly, it was inevitable. The only question is: “when?”
With the reveal of Mars One, the answer is now… -ish! It’s… well, what you should expect for the first ever (truly) interplanetary travel. It’ll be a long (~7 months), boring flight that will (quite probably) be punctuated by bouts of danger and terror. In other words, it’ll be a scaled-up version of the Oregon Trail! Only, you know, cool.
Like any good settler, the intrepid astronauts who board Mars One will never again set foot in their former home. They must brave unknown dangers and perilous environments before even arriving at their destination. And once they arrive, they must make a new life for themselves using only what they brought with them and what they find. That’s a tall order.
Here are my predictions for the trek to
Firstly, Mars One will need to ford a river of dust and in doing so, will break an axle. Normally, this wouldn’t be too dangerous as you can simply stop and cut down a nearby tree to fashion yourself a new one. However, being in space will complicate this somewhat. The colonists will most likely have to just wait for the next group to come along and try to make a trade. The real danger with this one is boredom. Idle hands, etc.
No matter how prepared they might be, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the colonists get sick at some point during the flight. Dysentery is no laughing matter. The colonists will need to remember to wash their hands frequently and to limit exposure to anyone showing any unusual symptoms. Admittedly, that could be hard to do on a spaceship, but that just encourages everyone to have good hygiene habits!
Once the colonists actually arrive on Mars, they’ll need to set up shelter and start scavenging for materials with which to, well, live. The most problematic of these is arguably food. True, the Martian wildlife has yet to learn to be afraid of humans, but the natural predatory chains are so fierce that it likely won’t matter. Any beast the colonists try to hunt will be either very skittish or very dangerous! At least if a colonist gets his or her guts torn out by a wily predator, they won’t have to worry about bleeding out!