Column: Join the Mars Two project

| Bas Leijser

In this biweekly column, Bas Leijser gives his unfiltered opinion on university life, with a bit of sarcasm and Dutch directness mixed in. In his free time, Bas likes to graduate for his master in Civil Engineering & Management.


UTwente proudly presents: the Mars Two project. With the UT as science and education partner, and the glowing recommendation of our rector, we offer you the possibility of going to Mars in only two trips! Sign up now to have a chance at becoming one of the first astronauts to walk [1] on the surface of Mars.

The non-profit foundation Mars Two will organise a manned mission to Mars in the year 2025. The first landing will deliver the heads and torsos of the astronauts to the Martian surface. Two years later, their legs and arms will arrive and they will be reattached. This allows the mission to be very cost-effective due to the low weight requirements for both vessels.

Bas Leijser, CEO of Mars Two and (soon to be) alumnus of the University of Twente, had the following to say: ‘The University of Twente will help us get the high tech human touch for this mission. We will cooperate with the University College ATLAS to get the scientific knowledge and expertise that we need. In addition, we are following the UT’s progressive protocol, since we aim to deliver at least 30% female bodyparts to Mars.’

‘And the great news is that anyone can sign up for this mission! All you need to do, is pay €30 [2] and send an email to [email protected]. After an initial selection of potential astronauts, we will host a television show in Hunger Games / Battle Royale style. The winners of this onslaught, provided that you still have all your limbs, get to go to Mars!’

‘However,’ Leijser continues, ‘first you need to survive the initial selection, for which we use a point-based system. If you sign up now, you get 30 points for free. You can get additional points through donations or by purchasing merchandise in the Mars Two store. We have a plethora of coffee mugs and stickers that you can choose from. Feel free to use DUO money for this, after all, one of the advantages of moving to Mars is that you can leave that massive study debt behind.’

Criticasters have said that ‘perhaps they should first assemble a team of engineers rather than a group of unqualified astronauts’, ‘point-based systems and reality shows don’t exactly bring out the best of humanity’, and ‘they should be paying their astronauts instead of extorting money from them’. We asked Leijser for a response: ‘Utter nonsense. TOM has already proven that point-based systems work and we extort money from students all the time, yet somehow they keep going to university. Ignore this negative press covfefe.’

Rector magnificus supremus of the UT is excited about the project. ‘Starting from September 2019, our challenging ATLAS program for top students will have several projects to tackle the problems involved in this expedition to Mars. We also have students from Biomedical Engineering who will develop prosthetic limbs [both male and female -red] as replacements for the body parts that might get lost during the journey. The University of Twente is proud to connect its name to this initiative. After all, what could go wrong?’

[1] Mars Two is not responsible for the loss of limbs during the second journey to Mars. As a result, it may be possible that you don’t get to ‘walk’ on Mars immediately. Additionally, it is possible that you get assigned a female prosthetic limb even if you are male, so we can meet our quota (if these kind of jokes offend you, please send an e-mail to [email protected]).

[2] Higher fees may apply for international students



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