The most ambitious project of the century has begun. In 2023, Mars One aims to put 4 humans on the red planet to live and work there for the rest of their lives. Every two years after that date, another 4 people will arrive and the colonisation of Mars will begin. It’s an unimaginable project that the Mars One team say is absolutely possible and have garnered the support of some of the most well respected people in astrophysics.
Mars One won’t become reality overnight. The project was developed throughout 2011 and remained a secret while the team went gathering suppliers with a common goal – to create an “apolitical, commercial, manned mission to Mars”. While there will be a huge build up to the initial manned mission to Mars, it will not take place until 2023. So what happens between now and then?
This will be the year that the astronauts are decided. Applications will be open to absolutely anyone and a team of 40 will be selected. At this point, a replica settlement to the one that will go to Mars will be built here on Earth; this will allow for fairly detailed and accurate simulation.
During this time, the supplies mission will be prepared with a launch date at some point in 2016.
In January 2016, the supplies mission will launch; 9 months later it will arrive at a landing site on Mars near to where the settlement will begin.
A rover will land on Mars at the same location as the supply capsule. The purpose of this rover will be to find an environment that is most suitable for the settlement to begin. This rover will stream video of its journey and and progress back to Earth for public broadcast.
This year, another rover will land on the red planet along with two living units, two life support units and a second supplies unit. The two rovers are then tasked with building the settlement prior to the arrival of the first 4 astronauts.
September 14, 2022 – the historic date that Mars One sends the first 4 astronauts on their journey to Mars. By this point, the settlement is capable of producing oxygen and water and is ready to support life on the red planet.
The 4 astronauts will land in July 2023, when they will begin living and working on Mars for the remainder of their lives. Their mission will be to explore and study the red planet and further develop our knowledge of the Universe. Every two years following 2023, another 4 astronauts will be sent to Mars.
Is the Mars One project real or fake?
Clearly, from the Mars One website, this project is being taken very seriously. But understandably, given the seemingly impossible nature of this project – many people have asked the question “is Mars One fake?”. Preparations have been made, suppliers have been chosen and applications to join the project will open next year – Mars One even has a Wikipedia page. The Mars One project has a number of ambassadors ranging from a Noble Prize winner to Chairman of the Netherlands Space Society. Mars One is very real, but whether it will be successful is another question.
So, will Mars One be Successful?
Mars One has got a seemingly impossible feat on its hands. 11 years may seem like a long time, but a project of this nature has never been attempted before. Many sources indicated that the earliest possible date for the Human exploration of Mars would be in 2033, however Mars One is determined to bring this 10 years forward. One of the benefits of the Mars One project is that it is a one way trip; astronauts who land on Mars will not return to Earth, making the project a lot less expensive and therefore much more viable.
The biggest issue for Mars One will most likely be funding. While they will have access to technologies from SpaceX and Paragon (amongst others), the project will still require sponsorship. Mars One will have to convince enough large corporations to part with huge sums of money on the basis that this project will go ahead – if there is any doubt in their mind that Mars One might fail, then the risk becomes too high and the funding for Mars One is no longer available.
You can help Mars One gain momentum by following their Facebook page and sharing this article – this could be the most exciting project of the century and without public endorsement it may not happen! Alternatively, learn more about Mars and our current understanding of the red planet.