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Mars One

Mars One is a private not-for-profit enterprise which plans to create a permanent human settlement on the red planet, Mars.

After completing a feasibility study in 2011, the team behind the Mars One project believe that their goal of colonizing Mars is possible with currently available technology, and a detailed roadmap has been put together to turn that dream into a reality.

A key element of the Mars One plan is an innovative funding mechanism to raise the significant amount of capital which will be required – through a reality TV style selection process to choose the astronauts who will make the long trip to Mars, and through the sale of media rights to the voyage and settlement building themselves. The project is also raising funds through donations, corporate sponsorships, and the sale of merchandise.

The total cost of this ambitious mission has been estimated at $6 billion to put the first four colonists onto the surface of the red planet and supply them with everything they need for a lifetime as an alien colonist, followed by an additional $4 billion for every four people sent after this. This cost has been significantly reduced by one startling fact – astronauts taking part in this colonisation attempt will be making a one way trip. There are no plans to bring any of the colonists back to earth, meaning that the colonists will be leaving under the assumption that they will never step foot on their home planet again. Despite this, there has been no shortage of applicants wishing to make the ultimate journey and the 'next giant leap for mankind'.

Astronaut Selection Process

Initial Application

Round one of the 'Astronaut Selection Program', to select the crew members who will make the journey to Mars, began in April 2013. This first step is an online application process open to anybody, anywhere in the world – the only conditions are that you must be over 18 years of age and must pay a small registration fee (the exact cost is dependent on your country of origin). Initially there will be four rounds in this first stage of the process, lasting up until 2015. From 2015 onwards, a new application round will be conducted each year. Applicants for this round are selected by the Mars One team, based on the degree to which they can demonstrate resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, and creativity.

Applicants who are selected at this stage will be required to pass a rigorous medical examination before moving onto the next stage. As of May 2014, 705 candidates have progressed out of the initial application process and successfully passed their medical.

Regional Selection

Candidates who pass through the initial application will be put forward to regional selection committees, who will choose smaller groups of hopefuls to compete in a reality television style show. The precise details of these television shows is still being negotiated with media companies, but it is expected that applicants will compete in a series of physical, mental and emotional challenges and simulations that will test their ability to cope with the harsh conditions of living on Mars. A group of around 20-40 candidates will compete in these shows, and the audience at home will pick one winner from each region to move on to the international stage. A panel of experts may select additional candidates to go through to the next round if necessary.

International Selection

Winning candidates from the regional selection round will be put into four person international teams to compete in the international selection – a global reality television show to be broadcast around the world. Six groups of four will then be selected to move on to the full mission training, including living in an exact replica of the Martian habitat.

Mars One Timeline

The Mars One project aims to land the first group of colonists on Mars in 2025. Here is the planned timeline of major landmarks leading up to that historic first landing:

  • 2015 – The first round of applicants will begin receiving training for the mission to Mars.
  • 2018 – A demonstration mission will be launched as a 'proof of concept' for any new technologies to be used in the mission, and a communications satellite will be put into orbit around Mars.
  • 2020 – The launch of the Mars Rover, complete with trailer for transporting cargo. The Mars Rover will also be tasked with clearing ground on the chosen site for the arrival of cargo missions and the subsequent installation of solar panels.
  • 2022 – Six cargo missions are planned for this year, to transport living units and life support equipment which will be required by the colonists.
  • 2023 – It is hoped that by this point in time the basic Martian outpost will be fully functional and ready to receive the colonists.
  • 2024 – The first crew will leave Earth for their new life on Mars.
  • 2025 – The first crew members will arrive on Mars.
  • 2026 – A second crew of four will leave Earth.

Categories: Science | Technology | Space | Television


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