(Sen) - Mars One, a Dutch company, is aiming to establish a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet. The mission, to be funded from the sale of broadcasting rights, would see the first 4 settlers arrive on Mars in 2023.
The Mars One vision belongs to entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp and scientist Arno Wielders. They believe that if they can build a human settlement on Mars there will be sufficient money from broadcasting to finance the mission. As well as television shows documenting the build up, astronaut selection process and journey to Mars, video would be streamed continuously from the surface as soon as the first Mars One rover lands.
The founders say "As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, that anything can be achieved."
A feasability study has been completed, considering the technical, social and economic aspects of the mission, and the company has secured a number of sponsors. Bas Lansdorp told Sen: "with more than ten corporate sponsors secured, Mars One has moved to the next phase of preparing contracts with our suppliers and the astronaut selection procedure."
The astronaut selection process is due to begin in 2013, and the company plans to have 40 astronauts trained for the mission, though only 4 would make the first journey.
To help with astronaut training and to test equipment, Mars One plan to build a replica of the proposed Mars village on Earth. The astronaut selection process and life in the replica Mars settlement would be televised to generate funding for the project.
According to the Mars One roadmap, the first supply mission carrying 2.5 tonnes of supplies should launch in January 2016 and arrive at Mars in October of that year, landing near the site of the proposed settlement. The first settlement rover should arrive on the Red Planet in 2018, tasked to find the right location to establish the Martian village. The rover would carry a video camera and provide a constant stream of film back to Earth, enabling television audiences worldwide to see the planet through the robot's eyes.
Illustration of the first Mars One supply ship that would land in 2016. Credit: Mars One/Bryan Versteeg
In 2021 six landers would arrive at Mars carrying two living pods, two life support units, a supply store and another rover. The 2021 rover would team up with the 2018 robot and work together to prepare the settlement for Mars Team One - the first human settlers.
Illustration of the a Mars One rover. Credit: Mars One/Bryan Versteeg
Water, oxygen and atmosphere production would be ready in 2022. Oxygen production would be derived from the water in Martian soil which would be extracted by evaporation, and the constituent elements of hydrogen and oxygen would be distilled from the water. Oxygen would also be generated from the plant systems.
If all goes to plan, in September 2022 four astronauts will set off on their historic journey for life on Mars, arriving in 2023. Mars One expects, given the timescale, that these four explorers would be the first humans to set foot on our neighbouring planet.
The capsules contain food production units and would be solar powered. The initial 6 capsules would be expanded in 2023 when more living units and life support arrive, with a third rover, later in the year.
Each lander has about 10 metres squared of living area and each inflatable living area about 100 metres squared, meaning the first 4 settlers would have 260 square metres of living space.
The second group of four astronauts, dubbed Mars Team Two, would arrive in 2025.
If Mars One achieves its ambitions it will see humans become a multi-planetary species.
The Mars One team have met with potential suppliers for all the components they envisage and have interest from at least one supplier in each area. They envisage using SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, currently being developed, to launch cargo to Mars. Astronauts would probably travel to the planet aboard a crewed version of SpaceX's Dragon. Elon Musk is known to support a multi-planetary vision and hopes to develop Dragon into a vehicle that can carry humans to Mars.
The company has established a special advisory committee which has attracted a number of space experts including Professor Pascale Ehrenfreund (USA / NL), a lead investigator with the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Dr Gino Ormeno (Peru), an Aviation Medical Examiner, Steve Carsey (UK), a television executive, Dr Raye Kass (USA), an expert in crew selection and group development, Professor Thais Russomano (Brazil), an expert in Aerospace Medicine & Space Physiology and Dr Christopher P. McKay (USA), an expert in Planetary Scientist, Space Science Division, NASA Ames and Dr John D Rummel who has chaired COSPAR’s Panel on Planetary Protection since 1999.
Mars One has secured several sponsors including: Byte Internet, VBC Notarissen, MeetIn, New-Energy.tv, Dejan SEO, Adknowledge, a performance-based marketing company, Intrepid Research & Development, an engineering company, Gerald W. Driggers, author of The Earth-Mars Chronicles.