Date: 08-28-13 Host: George Noory Guests: Ken Johnston
In the first half of the program, Ken Johnston, a former NASA Data and Photo Control Department manager, discussed the Mars One project and the process of colonizing space. He explained that Mars One is a non-profit organization aimed at building a human colony on the Red Planet and is currently in the midst of selecting the astronauts who will participate in the project. Johnston, who has applied to be one of these astronauts, acknowledged that the journey is a one-way trip to Mars, with a return to Earth being highly unlikely, but relished the historic nature of such an endeavor. "Everything we will do, from the moment we're launched," he marveled, "will be a first for the human species."
According to Johnston, the building of this colony on Mars will begin with training the astronauts in 2015, followed by a series of unmanned missions to the planet which would scout an ideal location and send the necessary cargo ahead of the humans. The first crew, consisting of two men and two women, would fly to Mars in 2022. Every two years, thereafter, another set of four astronauts will depart Earth and join the original Martian pioneers. Once they are on Mars, each astronaut will have their own 10 by 20 foot pod to live in and will perform research and development tasks on the planet while also building additional habitats for future fellow Martians, initially twenty-four in total. "As it grows, we'll have our own little colony going and we'll have to make up our own rules and laws," he said, "and we'll all be Martians."