China joins rush for Mars

Updated: 2013-04-29 00:14

By WANG YING in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Lansdorp said that by selling live coverage of the Mars mission, it will be easy to raise the $6 billion needed to fund the project.

"There will be 4 billion Internet users by 2023, much more than for the Olympic Games," Lansdorp said, adding that organizers of the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics earned $1 billion a week.

But Pang said the project may cost more than Lansdorp imagines.

Pang said the distance between Earth and Mars means the trip will take eight to nine months using existing technology.

Pang also referred to the harsh environment on Mars, saying sandstorms there can last half a year and be six times stronger than severe typhoons on Earth.

Lansdorp said the first Mars settlers will be able to live on vegetables.

University graduate Chen Qingyun said he wants to seize the chance of realizing his space dream. He said he trusts the project, but also admits he has limited knowledge about it, the Jilin-based newspaper City Evening News reported.

Apart from doubting the feasibility of the project, Pang also voiced fears over ethical and legal issues that may arise from the mission.

"They will die there if they cannot return — this is like euthanasia. And if we watch this live show, it's cruel," Pang said.

According to the project brochure, applicants will pay an administration fee based on their country's per capita GDP. For example, a Chinese applicant would pay $11 to join the space trip.

None of the Chinese applicants had replied to requests for interviews by press time.

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