December 11, 2013

    Photo: Getty Images

200,000 People Apply for One-Way Ticket to Mars

First Four People to Land in 2025

By 2025, Dutch company, The Mars One foundation plans to colonize Mars. Four lucky man-martians will be selected to make the initial trip and, according to CNN, they’ll never come back. The technology for a return trip doesn't exist yet and a one-way ticket reduces costs, Mars One announced Tuesday.

But before humans take off, the privately-funded company has readied an unmanned, robo-mission set to launch in 2018 in which a robotic probe lander and satellite will test the proverbial waters of the Red Planet. If things go according to plan, Mars One expects permanent human settlement on Mars by the year 2025.

Since the company first announced the idea in April, more than 200,000 people have signed up to make like Marvin the Martian, says CEO Bas Lansdorp. The four chosen for the first manned mission will be notified by the end of the year. The budget to get that quartet to the Red Planet is $6 billion.

Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars (2000) put humans on Mars by 2020—so you’re five years behind schedule, Mars One.

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James Pearson in 'The Sensei'     Photo: Courtesy of Reel Rock 8

Film Fest Features Top Climbing Flicks

The new Reel Rock film tour may be the best yet, spotlighting everything from Everest brawls to beautiful women conquering the toughest routes.

The Reel Rock film tour, a climbing-film-focused festival now in its eighth year, showcases the brightest stars and best films from the vertical world. With arguably its strongest lineup yet, Reel Rock 8 is a can’t-miss experience for climbers, but is good enough to appeal to armchair mountaineers, too.

This year’s traveling lineup features three big-screen heavyweights: High Tension, The Sensei, and Spice Girl. Each film stands on its own as a story, and more impressively pushes the limits on cinematography and filmmaking in the adventure world 

High Tension explores Ueli Steck’s controversial Everest ascent, with partners Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith. The climb was curtailed after a skirmish at Camp 2, but the incident continues to be a contentious issue in the climbing community.

Spice Girl profiles the beautiful rising climbing star Hazel Findlay; The Sensei is a classic of old world teaching the new. More than your garden-variety climbing candy, Reel Rock 8 has grown up to deliver both thrills and quality filmmaking—a testament to Sender Films and Big Up Productions, the companies behind the festival.

The tour has about a dozen more stops before wrapping up in early 2014. Not close to a show? The DVD is now available, including some bonus features from previous years. Run time is 90 minutes + bonues features.

For more flicks from the adventure world, see "The Best Adventure Films of 2013"

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Taos Ski Valley     Photo: sirtrentalot/Wikimedia

Billionaire Buys Family-Run Taos

Promises to keep hill the same

After more than 50 years running Taos Ski Valley, the Blake family announced that the ski area has been purchased by Louis Bacon, billionaire hedge-fund manager and a Taos-area landholder.

"We know many of you have visited Taos Ski Valley for years and a change like this was unexpected," said a statement from the Blake family released this afternoon. "Mr. Bacon and his team understand the culture of the ski area and know what makes Taos unique. It was for those reason, and because he has shown a long-term commitment to investing in Taos that we approached him about this purchase."

SEE ALSO: Q&A with Adriana Blake, Taos Ski Valley's administrative manager, on the purchase

Ernie Blake founded the ski area in 1955. His children and grandchildren have been running Taos Ski Valley after his death in 1989 at the age of 75. Bacon's deal buys out all the Blake shareholders.

Bacon has made a name for himself as a conservation for putting hundreds of acres of pristine sourthern Colorado wilderness into perpetual conservation easements, prohibiting development. From 2010 to 2011, Bacon fameous fought utility company plans to run solar transmission lines across his 171,400-acre Trinchera Blanca ranch in Colorado's San Luis Valley.

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Rescue helicopters were searching the Nevada Mountains for the missing six.     Photo: Ben Twist/Thinkstock

Survival Skills Keep Six Alive in Nevada

Adults place heated rocks into spare tire to keep children warm

A couple and four children were found yesterday after surviving two days in the bitter Nevada cold. What started as a Sunday excursion to let the kids play in some fresh snow, ended with the family stuck in a canyon next to their overturned Jeep, according to reports from CNN. Thanks to some innovative survival skills from the adults, all six people were rescued on Tuesday in good condition. 

Temperatures reportedly reached 21 degrees below zero on Monday night, which made the cold an immediate concern. The group’s Jeep apparently rolled on its side and slid down into a small crevice near Trinity Canyon. The adults were able to start a fire and began heating rocks, which they stuffed into a spare tire to keep the children (ages 3 to 10) warm, reports CNN. In addition, authorities attribute their survival to having basic supplies, telling others were they were going, and being prepared for the elements.

Nearly 200 people set out to search for the family early this week until a volunteer searcher spotted the Jeep on Tuesday. Chris Montes, a volunteer search member, explained the kids "did not seem too bothered. They were in good spirits. They just figured they were camping."

Cell phone forensics were ultimately what lead the rescuers to find the missing people. Early Tuesday morning, a forensics team identified a signal that lead the searchers in the right direction, according to CNN.  

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The crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) posted a sign reading "North Pole" made by the crew after surfacing in the polar ice cap region.     Photo: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia

Canada Claims North Pole

Other nations also vying for resource-rich arctic

Who owns the Arctic? Last week, Canada effectively said the region is their's. The Canadian government submitted an application to the U.N. last Friday claiming the outer limits of country's continental shelf includes the North Pole.

Canada joins the other seven nations with arctic borders—Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the U.S.—eying the resources beneath the northern sea. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates this unclaimed region contains 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of undiscovered oil.

"We are determined to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the tremendous resources that are to be found in Canada's far north," John Baird, Canada's foreign affairs minister, told The Guardian.

But Canada's not the first to claim this frozen, harsh region of the world. In August 2007, Russia planted its flag on the seabed below the North Pole to further Moscow's claims to the Arctic.

Following Canada's claim last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his military leadership that building a military presence in the region should be a priority.

President Putin asked them to pay "particular attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic," the BBC reports. This summer, the Russian military reopened a Soviet-era airbase abandoned 20 years ago on the northern Novosibirsk Islands, or New Siberian Islands, which are strategically located on a passage for ships to travel from Asia to Western Europe.

Putin reportedly also said: "Next year, we have to complete the formation of new large units and military division [in the Arctic]."

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    Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr

Harvard Votes to Ban the Bottle

Plastic bottles will no longer be sold on campus

Harvard University students have voted to banish plastic water bottles from their campus on the grounds that they represent an environmental hazard.

Sixty-four percent of students who voted in the referendum last moth were in favor of “ending the sale and distribution of plastic non-reusable water bottles on campus (including at Harvard cafes and Crimson Catering events) and making drinking water more accessible through the installation of additional water fountains and reusable water bottle filling stations.”

The final decision on the ban now rests with school administrators, who will be lobbied by the student government to comply with the vote. “We will be working with the administration to make sure student wishes are met,” Harvard Environmental Action Committee chairperson Katrina Malakhoff told The College Fix. Of course, the administrators are in no way bound by the referendum, essentially rendering the vote meaningless.

The Environmental Action Committee's next move, should the vote pass, will be to start installing grant-funded water stations for reusable water bottles around the campus.

However, not everyone is behind the ban. Some students who spoke to The College Fix said they find the move "silly" and "paternalistic," arguing that the move will only hurt the school's revenue and reduce water consumption on campus.

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