Idiot’s guide to moving to Mars — Part 1

The only manual you’ll need for going from Blue to Red.

Is thinking about moving to Mars leaving you stressed out? Are you perhaps wondering if you’d rather stay back? Don’t worry. And don’t stay. You don’t have to take the toxic air and radioactive fruits anymore.

Moving to Mars isn’t as colossally complex as it’s made out to be. All you need is a spirit of adventure, common sense, some basic physical and mental fitness and some planning. I am here to help you with the second. As you’ll see, it’ll be quite a breeze*.

* In a manner of speaking. Literally speaking, there isn’t any breeze on Mars — only regulated habitat-air.

If you still amble from one room in your apartment to another with sufficient dexterity, you can move to Mars. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for it:

1. The Entry Permit

This is the hard part: Applying for and getting your entry permit. As you would know, the most popular profession in Mars is farming and it is mandatory for you to demonstrate at least a basic understanding on what soil is and how seeds become plants. But, any expertise you can demonstrate beyond mere theoretical knowledge, like having grown a small potted plant at home or the nearest warehouse farm, for instance, will drastically improve your chances of approval. Amazon has started providing special soil and plant service which costs a fortune but is a great asset to get the entry permit (do note that you need to also have an bio license before you can begin to grow a potted plant at home)

2. Permit to Launch — a frenzied period

2.1 Buying a seat in the ship

First things first — The moment you get your entry permit, buy a seat for yourself to Mars. There are three companies operating a regular schedule of ships to the colonies. Golden Dawn (a Chinese operator) offers the cheapest and most aggressive prices in the market. But the earliest trip you may make with them could be years down. Blue Origin, operated under the corporate umbrella of Amazon, is priced competitively (although not as cheap as GD) and is likely to offer slightly closer dates of travel (within a year). The premium option is the Space X’s Musky Melon which is likely to take you to the colony in a few months, although you may have shell out about half your life savings. Whichever option you choose, buy the tickets as soon as you get your entry permit done. Prices increase and availability changes every second.

2.2 Becoming a certified Muskian

The moment you get your permit for moving to Mars, the clock starts ticking towards the deadline to leave Earth. But before you do, it is imperative to be a certified Muskian. Pick your favorite Muksism class and enroll immediately. It’s available on nearly all hyper-real platforms (unless you are still using the clunky old Occulus Dreambox 1.26). Muskism classes train you for the culture of the colonies and indoctrinates you with the philosophy of the founder and chief sentience of the colonies — Elon Musk. In his own words, the philosophy can be summarized as “Believe in the ridiculous. And the ridiculous will believe in you”.

Plus it teaches you to start speaking Muskish — which a combination of alphanumeric codes, programmatic syntax and English.

The purpose is to eliminate redundancy, uncertainty and obtuse references in turn minimizing unnecessary interactions with fellow humans in a resource deficient environment.

2.3 Connect to the colony Blockchain

You start paying the colony the moment you receive the permit. This is your maintenance fee as well as the contingency fund rolled into one. You have 5 days from the time you get the permit to authorize transfers (which flow constantly, every millisecond). The moment you authorize the transfer, the colony begins preparations for your specific arrival — constructing a habitat, increasing farm supplies, etc.

2.4 Reading, a lot of reading — and forms to approve

There are manuals and FAQs. There are procedures and processes. The reading, and assimilating, can get rather heavy. If you are wealthy and happen to own a high IQ Bot, you can let it handle the heavy lifting. Be sure to call out the Bot at the time of entry permit application. The Bot’s serial number will be linked to yours in the colony database. If, on the other hand, you don’t own a Bot, well, then bad luck! You just have to read all that shit up. Pay attention! You are administered a test the day prior to launch. Fail that and the whole thing unravels.

The other fun activity you get to do is to sign a million digital forms (from the various liability covers to authorization forms). These get saved into your digital block that needs to go with you on the trip.

2.5 Packing

There are specific requirements on how much milligrammage of each item you can bring with you and so it is best to hire a Mars packing consultant. The consultant ensures that you have everything you need and within acceptable weight. For instance, you are required to carry some prescribed seeds of fruits and plants as per colony rules. Also, a lot of cheese. And Turmeric.

2.6 Closing shop at Earth

There is nothing worse than leaving a completely wired shell of a house back in Earth. While it is not mandatory, it is only morally right for you to begin to de-contract your space on Earth and begin using temp accommodation. This way, when you leave Earth, you can fry your digital presence and also clean up on your physical presence leaving that little bit of breathing room in the congested, decaying planet. Every little bit helps.

2.7 Space travel and colony training

This is just a formality. The travel itself is so comfortable as to be enjoyable. Yet, there is a large industry of ex-space agency employees who seek to train you for the 4 month trip. What’s more important is training to live in the colony. It’s a massive shock for all new immigrants that you’ve got to do some many things physically (like farming for instance or even taking a shower). There are no VR worlds and only a little bit of machine sentience. You’ve got to do things the hard, physical way and if you aren’t trained you are likely to work yourself to death. Start off by walking for a few minutes every day between the rooms in your apartment. Slowly increase it up to an hour. Maybe in a few weeks, you could look at buying yourself a kitchen kit and try to experiment how to cook food yourself. Try chewing food, for instance. Bend down pretending to pick up something. Or perhaps, try and switch off parts of your apartment and see if you can do things yourself.

3. Launch minus 3 weeks — things get real

3.1 Finding your identity

This is when you get to meet the other immigrants who will be flying with you. You are given a batch code — M6324 means you are the 6,234th launch batch entering the colony. You are also given an ID. Your ID plus batch code becomes your identity once you are on the colony. For instance, if your batch is as mentioned above and number is 52 — your ID would be M6324–52.

There is a lot of cross-generational friction there. For instance, the sub M100s look at others with derision. There have been reports of some jeering and mockery. The new comers are also often lost and confused leading to more angst. But, having said that, the newly established committee for the welfare of colony immigrants, is enabling smoother transitions. If you encounter any form of bullying, report it immediately to the Colony Council that takes up such matters seriously.

3.2 Colony simulation

The pre-launch weeks are usually spent socializing with the other batch mates and also living a simulated colony life. You are cut off from all cyber feed and left in a physical vacuum. It can get unsettling. Some travelers have experienced physical symptoms like nausea and headaches when they are removed from the digital stimulus. Grasp at the excitement of moving to a new planet and hang on to it tight to get through this nightmare. Also, once you are there, this is eternal.

3.3 Get started package

Only three accessories become part of your physical presence on the colony. The first is your smart band which is fit into your hand and can only be removed by a certified technician. The second is your respirator bag which you always carry with you even though the colony is fully climate controlled (better safe than sorry). The third is your augmented view finder. This replicates only the most basic of Earth’s augmentations and may feel positively primitive and crude.

You are fitted with all three a few days prior to the launch. Get comfortable using them and moving around with them. Money in Mars is through a token system tied to the output of the colony on a real time basis. Your band makes those transactions of its own. Just make sure that you remain net-positive by contributing to the colony once you get there.