Houston We Have A Problem: Where Are The Black Finalists For The One-Way Trip to Mars?
Something intergalactically amazing is about to go down and Black people might literally miss the ship.
I’m talking about the proposed one-way trip to Mars. Oh, you haven’t heard about it?
Well according to the Washington Post, 100 people are still in the running for a permanent stay on the Red Planet. Two hundred thousand people initially applied for the space journey and only 24 lucky astronauts will be trained for the missions, which will be divided in six separate trips with the first four astronauts expected to depart Earth in 2024.
The pioneering space mission is the brainchild of Dutch visionaries Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, co-founders of Mars-One, a not-for-profit group which only aim is to establish “permanent human settlement on Mars using existing technology.” According to an article in Space.com, several private companies also have had their eyes set on landing people and even establishing settlements on Mars including one team which is financially backed by the founders of Google and Virgin. However the Mars-One team might be the closest to actually making this a reality.
And they might be the most ambitious. You can see and read many of the details of the settlement plan on the Mars-One website. For the most part, the settlers will reside in environmental-regulating pods, which will protect them from the planet’s harsh and oxygen-free terrain. While the expected launch is in 2024, the team estimates that the space flight will take about 8 months and actually land on the planet sometime in 2025. A test mission will be launched in 2018, which includes sending communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo ahead of the astronauts to Mars in hopes of providing “proof of the concept for some of the technologies that are important for human mission.”
All told, the journey will cost an estimated $6 billion for each one-way trip. To help raise capital, the Mars One team is looking to televised a competition, which will help to narrow the applicants down to the winning 24. Sort of like Big Brother – but instead of a million dollar prize you get a shitload of frequent flyer miles.
And if you’re wondering what NASA thinks, the space agency, which is “developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s,” appears to be cautiously supportive of the various proposed private missions, “but would offer advice if it felt lives were in danger,” according to an article from last year in the Guardian UK.
I am cautiously optimistic as well. Although the risks are plentiful and the reality show angle is kind of creepy(who am I kidding? I’ll totally watch it), I still think this is coolest thing in the world. Blame it on my inner nerd, but even if the trip is a total disaster and something returns to Earth along with the astronauts, say like in Octavia Butler’s Clay Ark, it will be well worth it. I mean, let’s be honest here: humanity has become a bit redundant and self-destructive. And if space aliens are needed for the world to come together than I say bring on Kahn. As crazy as we are on this planet, I believe we can take him. No problem!
Or at the very least, we’ll get a nice new vacation spot. How many of you travel snobs would love to brag about having that Mars stamp in your passport book?
However there is one thing that bothers me about this whole entire proposed trip, which trumps any concern I have about the possibility of a Mars attack. And I’m talking about the racial exclusivity of finalists for this pioneering journey.
Yesterday the Guardian UK highlighted the top 10 out of 100 finalists, as ranked by Mars-One organizers, and as no surprise, the list is predominately people of European descent (i.e. White people). To be exact: seven of the top candidates are White males and just three are women. Out of the three women, two are White and one is Asian. All the people are from the western world or are eastern Europeans, with exception of the Asian lady from Japan. And none of the candidates are Black.
Out of curiosity, I took a look at the profiles for all 100 finalists and discovered that at least 71 of the finalists are Whites, hailing from all over the Western world and Europe including the UK, the US, Australia, Poland, Canada, Switzerland and Russia. While only a measly 6 candidates are of African descent including: an South African Indian (classified as Black in South Africa), two women (one is biracial) from the U.S., a man from Nigeria, a Black woman from Brazil and a Black man from Belgium. The rest of the candidates are a mix of Asian, Middle Eastern and Hispanic.
Even God had to foresight to tell Noah to bring two of each kind on the Ark. As nearly two-thirds of the world’s population is currently living in Asia and with Africa’s own population, which is already the youngest in the world, set to quadruple (not to mention Europe continuing to see a decline in its own population), it does make one wonder why this project will be more than likely pioneered by people who look less like humanity?
While it is true that exploration and adventure has coursed through man’s blood since we discovered we had feet; it is also true that conquering and conquest, and more importantly colonizing new spaces through land rights claims, are also in man’s blood too. In particular, the Europeans. As this map on Vox points out, there are only five countries in the entire world, which haven not been either colonized or forced into some partnership with Europe.
What I’m saying is that we if don’t get up there to Mars along with those White folks, White people will likely claim all of it. I’m talking every rock, every crater, every dune and big-headed alien species will be the property of the Queen of England. And by the time we get up there, there will be nothing left for us to claim other than our same ol’ tired position in the struggle, fighting for inclusion and respect. Hell, the big-headed alien species would probably get land rights on Mars before Black folks will.
No shade to our Caucasian readers, but we need to watch White people. For all we know, they could be trying to establish new homes on Mars with the express interest of intentionally leaving us down here and turning Earth into a slave planet. No siree, can we go out like that – twice. That’s why we seriously need to monitor the selection process for this mission and if needed, campaign and raise an Al-Sharpton/Jess Jackson-inspired stink until more than half of those chosen to resettle humanity are people of color (with at least six of them being people from African descent. I would say half, but I’m not trying to be greedy).
With that said, we may want to draw straws to see who wants to be the first Brother From Another Planet, as some in the science community are saying that the Mars-One settlements will not work and all the colonizers will be dead in 68-days from suffocation. But don’t let that deter you. Think about what Rosa Parks would do…