The private foundation, Mars One, has started to seek funding to making their project one-step closer to reality. Last year the Netherlands-based group received over 2,700 applications from aspiring Mars astronauts in hopes to be selected to take their proposed one-way trip to the Red Planet. Mars One has aspirations to establish a Mars colony by the year 2025.
Earlier in the week, Mars One announced that they will be planning for the first step in their grandiose plan by launching the first privately funded robot lander toward Mars’ surface. The lander project is proposed to fly off the ground in as early as four years from now. The optimal time of launch is based on the close proximity of Mars in relation to Earth’s position. The optimal times to launch vehicles to Mars occur approximately every two years, but the Mars One launch window is proposed for 2018 when Mars will be the closest to Earth since 2003.
The Mars One group has already initiated talks with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. and Lockheed Martin to build the orbiter and lander. Mars One co-founder, Bas Lansdorp, says that they are very excited to have contracted both of the companies for their first mission to the Red Planet. Lansdorp says that both of the contractors have outstanding records and are both significant players in their fields of expertise. He went on to say that Mars One will be creating a historic moment once they have successfully arrived and operated the first privately funded Mars space craft.
To help fund the Mars One 2018 project, the group started a funding project on Indiegogo’s crowd-funding website. The project’s goal of $400,000 is due to close on January 25, 2014. This is not a small detail, securing funding would mean that Mars One will be one-step closer to building their space colony. A link to the Mars One fundraising campaign has been provided at the bottom of this article.
The future landing will gather test data necessary for human survival on the barren planet. The lander will test for water extraction from Mars’ soil and the effectiveness of solar energy production. Mars One’s robot lander is based on Lockheed Martin’s Phoenix lander design, which was successful for five months of operation in 2008.
Lockheed Martin’s civil space engineer, Ed Sedivy, said that they are very excited to work on the privately funded Mars One project. Sedivy confirmed that they are already working on the mission’s concept study that started with a proven design of their Phoenix lander.
Some are speculating that the rocket of choice for the 2018 mission is expected to be provided by SpaceX Corporation’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The Falcon is scheduled for its first test launch next year. The artist’s concept of the Mars One colony depicts SpaceX’s Dragon capsules that have been reused and up-cycled for Mars’ surface-bound human habitats.
Dennis Tito, the entrepreneur and space tourist has been eyeing the Falcon Heavy rocket for his proposed Mars Flyby mission in 2018. This mission has plans to carry a married couple into space.
The Mars One mission will have to overcome many hurdles of establishing a colony on the Red Planet. Mars’ landscape is very barren with high amounts of radiation. This escalates the challenge for energy and food production on the isolated planet.
Before the mission blasts off into space, it is expected that Mars One will begin testing some of their theories and designs in places such as Antarctica. With contractors in place and fundraising on the roll, Mars one is surely one-step closer to reaching their goals.
By Brent Matsalla
To donate to the Mars One project: Indiegogo Mars One Funding