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Practicing Muslims interested in the idea of taking a one-way trip to Mars sometime in the future could suddenly be out of luck. (Via NASA)
"Muslim clerics in the United Arab Emirates have issued a religious order or fatwa banning Muslims from signing on for an upcoming trip to Mars." (Via WPBF)
The order came from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment and specifically points to Mars One, a project dedicated to establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars as soon as 2024.
According to the Khlaleej Times, the committee equated the one-way "hazardous" trip to Mars to committing suicide.
"Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe... is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another... There is a possibility that an individual who travels to [the] planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death."
But one of the co-founders and CEO of Mars One said in a statement to Fox News that the missions that involve humans will be as safe as possible.
"We would like to respectfully inform the GAIAE about elements of the Mars One mission that reduce the risk to human life as much as possible. It may seem extremely dangerous to send humans to Mars today, but the humans will be preceded by at least eight cargo missions.”
According to Mars One's website, those cargo missions are meant to set up a reliable living environment, including a breathable atmosphere, before the future inhabitants arrive.
But this whole argument may be a moot point.
Mars One has reportedly only raised about 80 percent of its initial crowd funding campaign, which CNET notes is "not a huge vote of confidence in an international project that will ultimately need billions to succeed."
The committee said it is not against space exploration in general, though. Several Muslims have made trips to space in the past, most of them cosmonauts from Russia or other former Soviet countries.