It’s a seemingly harmless enough question. Many can relate, especially women who are perhaps unmarried and of a certain age. Well-meaning friends and family often ask the same of their loved ones. They’re just looking out for their loved ones’ best interests, right?
The fact of the matter is that the question, though seemingly harmless, brings about a lot of pressure and seems to insinuate that there is something very wrong with someone who is unmarried and of a certain age. This is the message that Heintz was receiving, not only from her friends but from her own mother. She was tired of it and then, when the weight of it had finally become too much, she turned to her mother and said, “It’s not like you can just decide one day, go out and buy a family and make it happen.”
But then, she did make it happen. Heintz went out and purchased a family of mannequins; a husband named Chauncey and a little girl named Mary Margaret to help her show others that you should live your life exactly how you like.
In an exclusive interview with Examiner.com, Suzanne Heintz noted that she never meant for her actions to become a fully-fledged campaign. Over the years, it has become that, though it had started with a simple Christmas card.
Heintz: I didn’t go out like gangbusters with a big plan for a feminist statement. It was just me, creatively expressing what was my personal issue. I thought it would be funny to shoot a fake family photo Christmas card and send it to the same people who hoped I’d eventually find marital bliss. Year after year, they’d sent me their cards which were filled with happy, growing children and puppies, showing me how wonderful their life looked. . . . What was I going to do for my Christmas card? Pose with my cat? I just thought it was a great way to gently take a poke back at them.
We live in a society where even our conversations are very business like. Conversation has become transactionary. We plug in information and receive some sort of corresponding result. It seems that people act as if this is also the way to go about relationships, building house and home.
Yes, as if your life path ought to be easy to plot out once you simply put your mind to it. Think about how online dating has all but taken over what used to be a personal introduction. Now, you need to advertise your best qualities in hopes of selling yourself to another person. It's a little bizarre. You kind of just plug in, place your order for a mate, and hope to get the intended response back. We’ve systematized what has historically been an organic human connection in the name of efficiency. It seems as though, today, people think that you ought to be in control of what is essentially fate and circumstance.
Some people looking on must think this is very strange.
You mean my work? I'm just trying to do something good for the world! I'm just trying to get people to realize that your life simply evolves the way it does. You really need to own it and be good with how it has crafted you into the great person that you are, instead of saying, 'Woe is me.' As if there's something wrong with your life! I think when you start passing judgment on your own life, you're putting quite a headtrip on yourself that is not healthy.
And then, what can you do? You're not doing anything and you're focusing on maybe all the wrong things.
It seems that when we compare ourselves to cultural ideals, we often place our focus on what we’re lacking. Many people assume that this project is exclusively about societal expectations for women, but it goes beyond that. It relates to most anyone. For instance, even my own sister. She began her career as a lawyer in a well-respected firm and she quickly had to field questions like, "Why aren't you partner?" "Why don't you start your own firm?" No matter what you do, or how successful you are, someone will always question the choices you make, and point out how you are not making enough progress in life. “What are you going to do next?” is how every success is met. I am so tired of people feeling as if their life is never enough. I think that makes a lot of people miserable in what often should be the happiest times of their lives. It's seems to be a universal issue.
What were some of the reactions from the people you had first sent the Christmas cards to?
I expected people to call me up and get a little ticked off, but they didn't. They all laughed and they loved it. They always asked, "What are you doing next year?” Frankly, that's what kept me committed to the project. I started this back in photography school, I just kept it going and kept thinking of ways to develop it.
When did you take the familyquins on the road for the first time? How did that idea come about?
The first time was in 2000. My friends and I decided to pack up the Mannequins and go to Carhenge, a strange roadside attraction in Nebraska. When we were setting up the mannequins, people started coming up, asking questions, wondering what we were doing. I didn't expect people to be so freaked out about what I was doing [because Carhenge] is a weird place anyway, but they were fascinated by what I was doing. That was kind of my first clue that there was a means to really connect with people by doing this in public. You could never get that interaction in a gallery.
It seems that only certain people go to galleries, as well. The audience is limited.
I'm really trying to change public opinion. I think it's essential that I be out in public personally changing minds, one by one. I get a lot out of it, too. People ask me questions that I didn't really think about. They explain situations that are related to mine but not necessarily about marriage. There's a big payoff for me and I think that it's so much more meaningful to people who see me while I work. They're either freaked out, and they just stand there for a while, gawking, wondering what I'm doing. Then they find the courage to come up and ask. Or they just laugh hysterically, and they want to take their own pictures with the mannequins. Either way, it's a great opportunity. Plus, it's a blast.
Can you explain a comment you made in another interview that how “Art shouldn’t be easy?”
It’s hard to imagine just how insanely difficult it is to set up a family of mannequins in a windstorm. The work ethic and commitment it requires is almost like an endurance sport. I think that speaks volumes about how valuable the message is behind it. If this was really just comedic, I would have dumped it years ago.
It's got all of these facets to it, too. It's funny, it's meaningful, it resonates with a lot of people and it's important. I think at this time in human evolution human and history, we should be past measuring ourselves according to these external ideals that we're shown everyday. I think that we're starting to lose our humanity.
Could it be that as we evolve, we're also devolving? It's almost as if the surface level is evolving, like for example, with a plastic spoon or fork. These things are actually devolving actions because they cause more harm than good in the long run.
Yes. I would agree with that. We are definitely losing our sense of what makes life meaningful. I think we can mark off the proverbial checkmarks for a successful life; car, house, spouse, children, etc. The checkmarks do not fill the void. I believe you need to go through life doing gut checks to make sure that what you are doing is truthful and meaningful to you.
I think a lot of people are pushed into certain paths, believing that you need to do X to compete, make money, or put food on the table, without thinking about "What kind of person is that going to make me? Is that going to make me happy? If I do all these things, if I get all the checkmarks, does that make me happier than someone who doesn't?
These mannequins, are visible checkmarks. They are metaphors posed as if to say, ‘If I had done this with my life, if these were real people, if I had married because I was supposed to, or it was time would it have made my life quantitatively better than if I hadn’t? “
You've successfully found a way to broach conversations that are becoming increasingly difficult to have.
Yes, particularly in light of the new focus on Feminism. I grew up in the time of bra burning and Gloria Steinem’s brand of Women’s Lib. When I was a child, I thought that maybe marriage would be out of date by the time I got to be my age. Yet, ironically, we still are talking about the same issues, decades later. I wonder just how have we evolved as a culture? Have we simply become more PC, and never truly addressed the core issues?
And then, as you've said in another interview, it's like we've added to the checklist as women what success supposedly looks like.
Now you have contemporary expectations piled on top of the last generation’s expectations. You are still expected to have a great family, a great home, involve yourself in your community and all that. Yet now, you have to have a great job, and you go to Pilates, then take the kids to soccer practice and then ballet lessons and then. . . I mean, the list never ends! Just being a good mother is not good enough. You have to be a career person, you have to be working on your personal development, you have to be working on your 401k!
You have to have the yoga buns.
I think women are not acknowledging all the pressures put on them to be and do everything. I think we're all just desperately trying to keep our heads above water. I actually was contacted by Angelika Hager, an author in Austria who recently wrote a book called “Snow White Fever,” which is about a new phenomenon, in which young women, now in their 20s are rejecting the paths of their Mothers in favor of returning to the role of Housewife. Ms. Hager asked me to explain why that might be. I think it might be because this is the first generation of women who watched their mothers try to do it all. They were witness to their mothers’ unhappiness, and they were unhappy despite having all the checkmarks of achievement. I can only guess that some young women don’t want it all. They only want to do one thing, and do it well.
The messages of accomplishment and what things should look like are in our media. In a lot of ways things still haven't changed. We're still talking about and waiting for the ring.
Yes, it seems that more than ever we are getting lost in an elusive image of Perfection, particularly in the perceived pinnacle of Womanhood, the Wedding. In order to address that, I recently staged a “Renewal of the Vows” with my “mannequin Husband.” I did it in order to initiate a conversation about how people are getting hung up on crafting an ideal image. So much so that they begin to lose the meaning behind their actions. Though I was trying to demonstrate this point by staging this combination wedding plus film and photo shoot, I ended up unwittingly doing exactly what I was trying to remind people not to do.
I wrote off my perfectionism as an artist and filmmaker as professionalism. I ended up being so distracted by the details that I lost the point of what I was trying to do. I never really got to focus on the heart of it. That heart was supposed to take the shape of an eloquent and moving speech I planned to give on the Altar in place of the vows.
Because I became so distracted by all the details of the planning of this art event, I couldn’t focus on the main point of it, the speech. I’d worked on it intermittently for months, yet never had the time to complete it. I worked on it right up to the last minute. I didn't even have time to print it out. I only had it on my iPad. It was really hot that day and five minutes into the speech, the iPad shut down in the heat. I had not memorized the speech. I thought, “Oh my god. The whole meaning of this event, the whole purpose of this event was this speech and now it's gone!" I froze for a minute. I realized that I was just going to have to wing it. I struggled searching for words. Ultimately, I found some. It wasn’t as beautiful as the way I'd written it. Still, it was my truth, as I had lived it, so I spoke from the heart.
Ultimately, I was disappointed in myself, though at first I was upset after the wedding. I thought, "This was supposed to be the best day of my career,” and it was anything but. Ironically, it was the most perfect thing that could have happened. Because of that mishap, I was reminded of the lesson I was trying to teach other people -- that you cannot get caught up in the process of living to the point where you just lose the point of it.
It looks like you are kind of thinking about doing some international talks. Is that true? Which ones are you thinking? TEDtalks, workshops?
It’s ironic that you bring up the topic of speaking engagements because my alma mater, CU [University of Colorado], just recently asked me to come speak to the liberal arts students encouraging them to study the arts. I talked with them about how to make your passion work and how to make a career out of doing what you love to do.”
It was a great experience for me, encouraging others to treat their passion with respect, and to refuse to abandon it in the name of being practical. Trusting your passion is a hard thing to do because it seems so unreasonable. Yet, for me the most unreasonable things I’ve done have made the most sense, and have resulted in the most valuable experiences of my life. If I’m an example of anything, it is of the power of believing in and committing to your passion. I’m thrilled that my work seems to have made an impact. I love the idea of impacting others even more directly through public speaking, and plan to make this a regular part of my work in the future.
When will the film come out featuring the little girl mannequin, Mary Margaret?
It’s in the works. “Playing House, Chapter 3: THE NEXT GENERATION” takes a unique look at cultural programming and youth. How do I plan on doing that? Mary Margaret goes to school. Structured around a photo shoot with the mannequin amongst her classmates, it will be an opportunity to speak candidly with kids about the social pressures and expectations that we are now passing on to this new generation.
The first chapter is complete, but I am presently working on music rights. Once that’s complete I plan to release it online. I’m still in production on the 2nd and 3rd chapters, in addition to collaborating on a feature length film with the indie documentary director, Karen Whitehead, on my story as an artist. All this, and my full time work as an Art Director for television keeps me pretty busy. So progress is a lot slower than I like.
Is there anything that you would like to add? Closing statements?
Basically, I just want people to lighten up on themselves and each other. I want people to understand that I’m not anti-marriage and I’m not anti-family. I’m anti-judgement. I really want people to be happy with their choices and not be held up to some standard of measurement that doesn’t fit them and makes them feel as though they lived their life wrong. I just want everyone to feel good about their life path, and proud of all that went into making them who they are.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Denver-based Stan Lee Media, Inc. (which is no longer associated with comic book writer Stan Lee) is battling WaltDisney Co. for the copyrights to Marvel superheroes, reported The Associated Press, Oct. 28. Arguments were heard in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, though no ruling was issued.
Disney said that they were tired of fighting the same battle which has been going on for more than 10 years. Last year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit put forth by Stan Lee Media who claimed copyrights of characters from the Marvel Universe and also demanded profits Disney had made from movies and merchandise associated with them. Disney said that the case should be closed. SLM has tried to appeal the federal judgment at least six times in other courts and has failed.
As reported by Hollywood Reporter, Disney pointed out at the beginning of this year that SLM “is an administratively dissolved corporation that lacks the capacity to license.” SLM has no other functions at this point other than the court battles it has been fighting since 2002. Disney further stated that “under Colorado law, a dissolved corporation can't carry on its business except to "wind up and liquidate its business and affairs."
Founded as a web-based company in 1998, Stan Lee Media had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001. The company was failing within only a couple of years after opening its doors and despite outer successes which included winning the 2000 Web Award for the best Entertainment Portal on the World Wide Web. But the company was dismissed from bankruptcy in November of 2006 and has been lingering on life support in the U.S. court system ever since.
Should Stan Lee Media continue in its battles? In what seems to be a moot case (Disney bought Marvel in 2009), the company keeps getting back up for the fight. Walt Disney Co., just keeps showing up and winning.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Darth Alekseyevich Vader is running for the position of Prime Minister in the Ukraine, reported the Associated Press, Oct. 24. He “prowls the streets of Kiev atop his black campaign van wooing voters with the promise to turn Ukraine into a ‘galactic empire.’” He arrives along with some of his storm troopers in tow and his signature theme music from the films.
This is hardly a hoax, though it does seem extremely absurd. Vader says he’s serious about his campaign and so much so that he has undergone quite the transformation towards his causes. He has legally changed his name from Viktor Shevchenko to Darth Alekseyevich Vader and he campaigns in the black garb that is typical of the famous Star Wars villain. Further, he’s shirked his former life as an electrician to become a parliamentary candidate.
Goals if appointed include winning the “war against separatist rebels in the east,” providing free computer classes to everyone, reclaiming the Crimean Peninsula, and computerizing all government business. He told AP that, “When I get to parliament, I will expel all the deputies. They have proven their uselessness. Computers will work in their place and they will fulfil their functions without cease." In true warlord fashion, he has also vowed to take on Putin.
He has vowed to do all of this by constructing a veritable Death Star. “A military space station will be built that will protect the whole territory of Ukraine,” he said.
Polls do not reflect favorably for Vader or for anyone else on the Internet Party ticket which maybe is too bad. There seem to be a lot of valid reasons why the Ukraine should vote for the Sith Lord, reports Vocativ. The computerization of government would limit the corruption of government officials while enhancing transparency of the government overall. “Darth’s Internet Party of Ukraine is fighting for an ‘e-Government’” which will combine all parties involved in politics; the government, business, and the citizens of the Ukraine.
While it doesn’t seem that there is much chance of Vader actually becoming Prime Minister, every time he’s present, onlookers are enthusiastic and his words are much more meaningful than those that might be provided in a mere publicity stunt.
Many hope that a good deal of the Internet Party members will be voted into parliamentary seats, otherwise, though the Ukraine government is going through a major reformatting, Parliament, in a supposedly new format, will be filled with “old faces wearing new masks.”
Registered candidates on the Internet Party ticket include Stepan Chewbacca Mikhalovich, Padme N. Amidala and Master V. Yoda, reported Mashable. Like Vader, all of the other candidates have had their names legally changed and appear on the official list of candidates for Parliament. Their registration is bona fide.
This is not the first time Darth Vader has been a candidate for office. Newsweek reported that he has run other campaigns, (albeit unsuccessfully) as the Sith Lord. He has run for mayoral offices in Kiev and Odessa and even has run for presidency in 2014. At that time, he wouldn’t show his face and so officials disqualified him on the account that he was breaking the rules by not providing his ‘true identity.’
Ringing in at $10,000, the levitating platform may not be cheap, but Arx Pax is hosting a Kickstarter to prove that they have the technology, not just a concept, for the Hendo Hoverboard. Sean Buckley of Engadget took one for spin. He reported that the board supported his full weight of 200 lbs. and never dipped during the length of his trial.
While the hoverboard doesn’t quite bring its riders to the heights and speeds that Marty McFly’s did - let alone the distance across time and space that a Pan-Dimensional Surfboard the likes of Blon Slitheen’s might have taken her (Dr. Who, Series 1, Ep. 11) - it does consistently hold a fully grown person and keeps an altitude of approximately one inch from the ground.
The boards have other limitations, too. Though future boards will easily support 500 pounds (they currently can support up to 300), some very special pathways are going to be needed for the boards to work at all. “The Hendo uses the same kind of electromagnetic field technology that floats MagLev trains -- meaning it will only levitate over non-ferrous metals like copper or aluminum.”
So, how do you get to take one on a test ride yourself, you might ask? Arx Pax’s Kickstarter has some interesting perks for its backers. If you pledge at least $100, you can take one for a spin as soon as March 2015. If you are more serious about maybe, say, owning a piece of hover tech of your own, you can pledge $299 which will get you a Hendo hover engine set and enough surface material for you to hover on. You can even use the engine to hover other things (the engineers at Arx Pax are working on hovering whole buildings to protect them from things like earthquakes and floods). Pledge $699 and you get an app with your hover tech which allows for propulsion and control (act quick, this perk and many others are flying!). At the $10,000 level, you can call yourself a jetsetter. With only 10 initial hoverboards available, you can “smile widely as you glide past scores of envious faces,” writes Arx Pax.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Cappy McGarr, producer of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (which will air Oct. 23 on PBS) told the Associated Press that the reason Jay Leno won the prize is because of his contributions to national conversations via humor. “You know, we receive bad news every day, and it’s important for us to keep our humor intact, as difficult as that might be,” he said, adding that Leno’s contributions have helped many “keep things in perspective.”
Another man who works in comedy named Jamie Masada knows comedy’s power to not only put things into perspective but to also bring about peace. Masada plans to do just that as he hosts the first Funniest Person in the World competition,reported AP, Oct. 19.
"It might sound stupid," Masada said, "but some people, they sit down, they break bread together, they never hurt each other. Some people, they sit down, they laugh together, they never hurt each other.” The page about the contest at The Laugh Factory website, Masada’s comedy club in Hollywood, reads, “We are hoping to bring the world together through smiles and laughter. Laugh Factory believes that diplomacy, democracy, and religion have not succeeded, so we think it’s time to focus on something more universal.”
The Associated Press wrote that Masada had already seen this approach to peacemaking work effectively. “During the latest Palestinian-Israeli tensions, Masada, an Iranian-born Jew, got the idea of defusing them for at least one night by hosting a comedy exhibition featuring locally popular Jewish comedians sharing the stage with their Muslim counterparts.” It was held in the spirit of a gathering where both sides would learn something about the other. However, primarily, what ensued was intense staredowns from two sides of the club. After comics started performing, sharing jokes and humor from their own experiences, the end of the night saw both sides of the house commingling, hugging and laughing out loud.
After that event, Masada was inspired. He sought out to host a sort of comedy Olympics that would bring together comedians from all over the world. He searched comedy festivals worldwide for candidates for his contest and then he had people online vote for them to pare down the list to 10 semi-finalists. Those semi-finalists are scheduled to perform at the Laugh Factory and to an international virtual audience on Oct. 20. On that day, perfomers will be pared down to a group of five finalists and they will head to the Las Vegas arm of Laugh Factory to compete for the winning spot on Oct. 24.
Some might ask whether comedy can really bring about world peace. Via a phone interview with AP, one of the comedians said that he thought it indeed could. “I think comedy is one of the most sincere ways of entertaining and educating people,” he said, “I connect with you, you connect with me and we have a good time.”
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Former “Tonight Show” host, Jay Leno, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor which is considered the top humor prize in the United States, reported the Associated Press, Oct. 19. Many comedians and entertainers of note will honor Leno’s humor and accomplishments this Sunday at the Kennedy Center in Washington and they’ll poke a little fun at him, too.
Leno is the 17th recipient of the prize. This event puts him in the ranks of former winners such as Richard Pryor, Carol Burnett, Ellen Degeneres, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg. All of the recipients have been among those deemed to have impacted American society in the tradition of Mark Twain (Samuel L Clemens) who used humor, satire, and social commentary in his work. On the website for the show, Mark Twain’s quote, “Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever,” seems to be a stout announcement of the focal point around which candidates are chosen.
Jay Leno’s history with the “Tonight Show” long preceded his having become the host in 1992. He’d made his first guest appearance in 1977 and was an exclusive guest host for the show since 1987. Now that he has stepped and passed his title on, he has been developing a new show called “Jay Leno’s Garage” that has already gained a lot of attention from the internet and won notable awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class - Short-format Nonfiction Programs.
Stand-up comedy was the stuff that built Jay Leno’s career and he still performs all over the country in many kinds of venues. To this day, he performs over 100 live shows every year. Along with that and his television endeavors, he’s even found time to write a humorous children’s book called “If Roast Beef Could Fly.”
Those lined up to honor Jay Leno with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor are Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, Kevin Eubanks, Jamie Foxx, JB Smoove, Garth Brooks, Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes, Kristin Chenoweth, Al Madrigal and Betty White. The list on the show’s website notes that cast members may be subject to change. The event will be videotaped and will air on PBS, nationwide Nov. 23.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
These figures from last month did not include more than 1,200 people who were already known to be receiving treatment for FGM. Also, in all the time that FGM has been criminalized, this is the first time that figures have been collected. Further, no one in all of that time who has administered such a procedure has been convicted of a criminal act in the courts.
Collecting data about the number of women and girls who had undergone the procedure was an attempt by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to understand to what degree the problem exists. According to their data, FGM procedures occur all over England.
The data collected suggests that 170,000 women and girls living in the UK have possibly gone through an FGM procedure. This issue has been dubbed a “national scandal.”
UK officials have been holding off because of a worry about crossing boundaries of cultural sensitivity. In communities that engage in this practice, FGM is carried out as part of a coming of age of a young woman. It is a practice which “predates Islam,” and is practiced in many cultural and religious communities today. To some communities, a young girl cannot become a “complete woman” unless she has undergone FGM. To them, the procedure allows a woman or girl to become more clean, more feminine, more ready to accept her role in a community that expects her to be docile and obedient.
The WHO relates that FGM causes many serious problems for women and girls. “The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth, also causing dangers to the child.” FGM also affects women’s self esteem and mental health.
FGM is illegal. Period. Even if a medical professional carries out the procedure, it is illegal. Even if the procedure takes place outside of the UK (or the USA for that matter), it is illegal. FGM is known as a violation of human rights, a form of child abuse and a form of gender-based violence.
While times are changing, they are changing quite slowly. The Guardian reported last summer that parents allowing FGM procedures on their daughters would be prosecuted. The BBC, however, wrote that collecting data was a step towards prevention of the act in the future.
One youth, as reported by CNN said "All I can remember is being held down and the pain. I think it will haunt me forever.” Others are right there with her. That is why counseling programs have been put into place to help victims of female genital mutilations. "We hope that we can eradicate this practice by protecting those girls at risk and offer appropriate care and support to the survivors," said Janet Fyle, a policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives. This is a “wake up call” she also said. Half of the reported cases of female genital mutilations reported in the UK had occurred in London.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
A Dutch non-profit organization called Mars One announced in 2012 its mission to colonize Mars by 2025. Their intention is to send their first unmanned mission to the planet in 2018. They have already garnered the interest of many who would be among the first colonists to take a one way ride to the planet, an adventure for which almost 203,000 people have applied. Last year, that list of hopefuls was whittled down to a list of 1,058 finalists with 24 astronauts to be added to help establish a successful colony on the red planet.
Many factors have been attributed to this bubble burst. Mars’ environment is already known to be less than congenial to life as we know it on Earth. With ⅓ less gravity than what is on Earth, inhabitants would be faced with an atmosphere that is much thinner since most of the atmosphere has drifted away. Protecting from UV rays would be a constant as a result of the thin atmosphere and oxygen would be at a deficit (it only makes up about 0.13 percent of that atmosphere with carbon dioxide taking up more than 95 percent). These are just a few of the things that make the planet kind of inhospitable.
But Mars One has carefully considered colonization plans which they consider realistic. They write on their website that the plan “is built upon existing technologies available from proven suppliers.” Solar powered huts to create electricity, systems to extract water from Martian soil and even plans for homegrown foods and vegetation are in the works. Mars suits will also be worn by every inhabitant in order to protect them from Mars’ harsh environment.
MIT researchers had created a “settlement-analysis tool” and found that new technologies are necessary for human life on Mars. The MIT News Office gives an example, “if all food is obtained from locally grown crops, as Mars One envisions, the vegetation would produce unsafe levels of oxygen, which would set off a series of events that would eventually cause human inhabitants to suffocate.” MIT states that in order to “avoid this scenario, a system to remove excess oxygen would have to be implemented — a technology that has not yet been developed for use in space.”
And the mission would be costly. With an estimated need of 15 initial rockets to get the first four humans to the colonies, along with their supplies, $4.5 billion dollars would be needed and that cost would grow every year, as Mars One sends four people at a time per year to the colony. Aside from cost, there are still a lot of unknowns that need to be found out and addressed so that a colony on Mars can be a success.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com