A long, long time ago in a galaxy not so far away—actually this galaxy, people took aeronautics into their own hands and decided to begin launching aircraft into space. In recent years, the President of the United States terminated the nations space exploration program, retiring all of their spacecraft. Thus, came private space exploration programs like Mars One, which is set to make history as being the first private launch to Mars and quite possibly change the future of space exploration as we know it.
In earlier years, shortly after World War 2, the Soviet Union and the United Stated created their own missile programs in an effort to create rockets that were powerful enough to overcome the forces of gravity and exit the Earth’s atmosphere. Space travel officially began with the launching of the Soviet Union’s famed spacecraft Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. Four years later, Lt. Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union became the first human to orbit the Earth, marking 1961 as the official date of human space exploration.
That same year, America launched their first spacecraft into the depths of the universe, establishing their first human space mission, making astronaut Alan Shepard the first American to enter space. Although often doubted, with the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, in 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon and ultimately changed the history of space exploration for the future of mankind. From that day forward, space exploration was no longer just an experiment, but forever a part of human life. Between 1969 and 1972, six Apollo missions were established to explore the moon.
Following NASA’s 135th STS mission, their Space Shuttle Program officially ended wrapping up 30 years of space exploration achievements. The Atlantis shuttle, along with its four astronauts, ended their journey of more than five million miles by landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in July 2011. Although the cancellation of the Space Shuttle Program had ended a long journey of discoveries, it would not put an end to the future of space exploration and the possibility of one day landing a human being on Mars.
In 2012, the cargo supply transportation system to the International Space Station, was taken over by a privately owned, commercial craft called Dragon from SpaceX, under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services—then in 2013, by Orbital Science’s Cygnus spacecraft. Enter Bas Lansdorp, Mars One and the future of space exploration.
Bas Lansdorp is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mars One. Lansdorp obtained his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Twente University in 2003. In 2008, he founded Ampyx Power in an effort to develop a new, viable method of generating wind energy. After selling his majority interest in Ampyx in 2011, Lansdorp moved on to his long-time dream, in which he would form into Mars One.
Mars One is the future mission to establish a permanent human settlement on the planet Mars. Although this may seem unbelievable and terrifying, it is an actual mission set to launch its first departure in 2024. The plan is to launch crews of four at a time, every two years—indefinitely. The first unmanned mission is set to depart in 2018. Despite how much space exploration America, among others has done over the past five decades, we still know so little about the universe. It is likely that space exploration will never end entirely and Mars One may only be the beginning.
By Robert Masucci