Considering how long astrologists, scientists, and philosophers have pondered the prospect of visiting other planets, it only took 2,000 years to prove that our species could survive in a dark, ice-cold vacuum. You only have to look at the International Space Station to see that humans can achieve great things in outer space if they are properly equipped, and providing they can replicate the right living conditions.
Although the ISS marks one of mankind’s biggest achievements to date, technology has rapidly evolved in the last 30 years, allowing us to push the boundaries of spaceflight and bend the constraints of physics further. Our work here on Earth is broadening our ability to explore the cosmos. As a result, governments and private companies have been encouraged to take new and bolder leaps in space travel that could see human footprints on Mars in less than a decade.
The big question is: who will be the first?
What does it take to get to Mars?
The physical and mental challenges a human must withstand to survive a mission to Mars is one of the biggest contributing factors as to why it hasn’t happened yet. So when it comes to the question of who will end up there first, we should turn our focus to the progress of previous human space exploration projects. What do each of them have in common?
Technology is undoubtedly one thing. Compared to the 1960s, technology has now advanced to a degree where the human body is more capable of handling the extreme conditions these crafts need to endure to get to other planets. With the technology we have now, a mission to Mars would take around seven months. Though we’re a long way off inventions like hyperspace travel or cryogenic hibernation that would allow us to go beyond our solar system, scientists and founders of space projects are confident that within 10 years, any living being could survive a journey to Mars.
An Agile Team
The second commonality that all successful space projects share is the cohesion of forward-thinking individuals that are skilled in what they do and how they communicate; the crews selected for these missions undergo a grueling series of tests to ensure they are capable of working well as a team and can cope with the mental, emotional, and physical demands that the job requires.
The company most likely to make it to Mars first will have a strong flight crew and equally resilient ground control. According to NASA’s astronaut candidate selection process, the 10 top factors regarded the most important in deep space exploration are:
- performance under stressful conditions
- mental/emotional stability
- judgment/decision making
- teamwork skills
- family issues
- group living skills
- communication skills
- leadership capabilities
What Would the Ideal Spacecraft Look Like?
A contender that’s heavily focused on ship design is SpaceX. The BFR (short for big f***ing rocket) ships are already being used to resupply the ISS and repair satellites, but Elon Musk claims the same technology can be reused to get 100 people to Mars by 2024. The 48-meter-tall rocket will sport 6 raptor engines and be capable of touching down and departing the Martian surface using a single engine.
The winning ship will have fast and powerful engines complete with excellent propulsion systems, safety features, and protection from the extreme heat and radiation caused by the outside environment. It will also be comfortable and provide for the basic needs of its passengers, including enough supplies to last every person on board two years or more.
Betting on Who Will Make it to Mars
At this rate, Mars could be colonized as early as 2030, and it’s likely the very first travelers will have made it there and back way before then. While it’s not written in the stars or possible to fully predict who’s going to get there first, the odds currently tip into the favor of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin are trailing close behind. Space Force and Boeing are also showing promise for being the first to put living, breathing people on the Red Planet.
Some sports betting sites are already accepting wagers and allowing players to make their picks. Here are the odds as they stand in 2021:
Blue Origin +400
US Space Force +1400
United Arab Emirates +17,500
As you can see, private companies and the newly established USA Space Force are taking the lead currently. China, Russia, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) are considered the latecomers on the chart but aren’t too far behind.
Like any race, however, the tables can turn at any point, which is why if you’re planning to wager on key events like this, you’ll need to stay up to date with the progress of each project. With that in mind, here is some intel on the top three runner ups so far:
SpaceX – Elon Musk may have his billion-dollar Tesla empire, but his highest priority is getting to Mars. By next year he hopes to have mining and life support systems, as well as infrastructure for future missions and supplies already on the planet. Unlike the other private companies, SpaceX has also been shooting rockets into space since 2008. Neither Boeing nor Blue Origin has ever been successful in launching a rocket into orbit, which gives SpaceX another advantage.
Blue Origin – Jeff Bezos injects 1 billion dollars of Amazon’s annual revenues into the Blue Origin space program, which puts the company on a slower trajectory to reaching Mars than SpaceX. However, he does have plans to colonize the moon, which would eventually house infrastructure used to regulate space travel to Mars and other close-distance planets.
Boeing – Boeing has its fingers in a lot of pies, including a contract with NASA and the US Space Launch System. Despite this, the company’s primary focus is on commercial airliners and elite weapons manufacturing, which means they’re more likely to blow up the Earth before 2025 than launch a Boeing CST-100 Starliner in space.
The first successful human mission to Mars will be celebrated in science and history books for generations to come. It will also be the first stepping stone in empowering humanity to travel to other worlds, find new sources of sustainability, and potentially encounter extraterrestrial life. The fact that we’ll get to witness this one-off event in our lifetime is pretty damn exciting, and it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime betting proposition for gamblers!
And if you simply can’t wait for us to reach a new planet, some sports betting sites are accepting wagers on how you think ours will end in the meantime. Our money’s on a zombie invasion!