People have signed up in hopes of being the first Earthlings to start a colony on Mars. A Dutch company, The Mars One foundation, announced to the public on Tuesday that it is moving along with plans to send four people from Earth to colonize the Red Planet. However there is one major catch: they will never be able to come back here.
The foundation states it has gotten numerous suppliers for an unmanned mission which must go up first. It is set to launch in 2018. This involves both a communications satellite and a robotic lander.
The first mission will determine what technology will be most needed in the permanent human Mars settlement. If all ends up going well and that is a very big if, the first space pioneers might be able to land on Mars about the year 2025.
Eagerness has been growing by leaps and bounds since the project was first announced back in April of this year. There were over 200,000 applicants who signed up to be potential astronauts, stated the Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp. If one missed the application period, then it is too late. That has officially closed, and now by the end of the year, the company stated it plans to inform which individuals they feel are best suited to make it to the second round.
The first unmanned mission will be the most important and greatest step in actually getting any humans to Mars. It will also be the most difficult. This mission will also be the first that will be privately funded as well.
Ed Sedivy, who is a chief engineer at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, stated that the chance to be involved in the Mars colony mission is very exciting.
It is believed that most of the funds for the majority of the unmanned missions should come from both partners and sponsors, not from public donations. Costs of both the satellite and land will be something that the contracted business firms will have to study, although Mars One already has an estimate figure in mind.
The lander is going to be based on the popular NASA Phoenix mission. The Mars One probe will have a robotic arm that carries a camera, It will take constant video. The lander will also be able to perform water experiments which demonstrate the liquid water production that is on the Mars surface. The mission’s main priority is to actually make sure there is liquid water on Mars.
This unmanned operation will also bring winning contest projects. There is going to be a worldwide university contest which will give teams the chance to recommend various tests to perform while on the Red Planet. Such experiments may be scientific in nature but Mars One announced it is also interested in projects that could be considered “fun”. One experiment that the company wants to do is have a balloon that has a camera attached onto it that would film Mars from high altitudes. This is something that has never been done yet.
The satellite would send back a live video feed from the Mars surface to Earth. This would represent the very first Red Planet communications satellite transmission.
Mars One was initially scheduled to send out the first humans in the year 2023, but the project has been postponed. After the first human beings possibly arrive in 2025, the plan is said to be to send up more crews every couple of years. The plan, as of this time, is to send groups of four people at one time. But hopefully there will be superior vehicles made in the future which might become available to transport more individuals at once time.
Mars One stated one hindrance of trying to get to Mars is the cost behind all this. The total assessed budget for sending four humans to the Red Planet is at least $6 billion. The company has not revealed just how much money has been obtained from sponsors and partners but stated that donations currently are over the $200,000 mark.
It is believed that a reality TV idea could help recover some of the costs. But it is unknown for sure if the money will actually be there. It is also not known if four people would survive the trip or even be able to call a foreign planet as their new home.
Only time will tell if the four applicants will be able to go make a colony on Mars at all.
By Kimberly Ruble