Mars One’s plans to send volunteers to the Red Planet on a one-way mission have faced a setback by a fatwa committee.
The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE) in the United Arab Emirates has prohibited Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet.
The Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit announced to send four people to a Martian habitat by 2024, followed by a second group a few years later. The estimated $6bn cost of the trip will be covered by the sale of TV rights.
The religious leaders squabble that this trip would be equivalent to committing suicide, which all religions tend to scowl upon.
“There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death,” the committee said.
Up to 500 Muslims are reported to have applied for the Mars One mission.
Professor Farooq Hamada, who presided over the committee, explicated, “Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”
As a reply Mars One said, “If we may be so bold: the GAIAE should not analyze the risk as they perceive it today. The GAIAE should assess the potential risk for humans as if an unmanned habitable outpost is ready and waiting on Mars. Only when that outpost is established will human lives be risked in Mars One’s plan.” By the means of this statement, Mars One also appealed the GAIAE to cancel the Fatwa.
The team also noted that the fatwa only forbids Muslims from going on the actual mission, not from applying to participate and undertake the eight years of training required for the trip.