'); }
Artist concept of the Mars One lander, a variant on the SpaceX Dragon. Credit: Mars One

Humans on Mars by 2023?

6 Jun , 2012

by

Reality TV goes to Mars! Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp is leading a group visionaries and businesspeople who want to send four humans to Mars by 2023, and they say they can achieve their goal at an estimated cost of $6 billion USD. How can they do it? By building it into a global media spectacle. And oh, by the way, this will be a one-way trip.

“Who would be able to look away from an adventure such as this one?” asks Lansdorp in his bio on the Mars One website. “Who wouldn’t be compelled to watch, talk about, get involved in the biggest undertaking mankind has ever made? The entire world will be able to follow this giant leap from the start; from the very first astronaut selections to the established, independent village years later. The media focus that comes with the public’s attention opens pathways to sponsors and investors.”

As far as the one-way mission (a concept that Universe Today has written about extensively) the Mars One website notes, “this is no way excludes the possibility of a return flight at some point in the future.”

[/caption]

The difference between this mission and the one proposed by Jim McLane back in 2008 is that McLane wanted to send just one person to Mars.

However, the Mars One group says that once the first trip is successful and Mars becomes developed, it will be “much easier to build the returning rocket there.”

In a Q&A on reddit, Lansdorp said the biggest challenge will be financing.

“We have estimated, and discussed with our suppliers that it will cost about 6 billion US$ to get the first crew of four people to Mars. We plan to organize the biggest media event ever around our mission. When we launch people to Mars and when they land, the whole world will watch. After that a lot of people will be very interested to see how ‘our people on Mars’ are doing.”

But the big challenge is that the biggest expenditures will be building the equipment before they send people to Mars. “This is why we are building a very strong technical case now. If we can convince sponsors and investors that this will really happen, then we believe that we can convince them to help us finance it,” Lansdorp said.

As far as technologies, Mars One expects to use a SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy as a launch vehicle, a transit vehicle/space habitat built by Thales Alenia Space, a variant on the SpaceX Dragon as the lander, an inflatable habitat built by ILC Dover, a rover vehicle by MDA Space Missions, and Mars spacesuits made by Paragon.

The project website says “no new technologies” will be needed, but does any space agency or company really have a good handle on providing providing ample air, oxygen, energy, food and water for extended (lifetimes?) periods of time? Instead, the website provides more details on FAQ’s like, What will the astronauts do on Mars? Why should we go to Mars? Is it safe to live on Mars? How does the Mars base communicate with Earth? And the Mars One team emphasizes that this can be done with current technology. However, no one really knows how to land large payloads on Mars yet, so at least some development will be required there.

Who will go? Later this year they will begin to take applications and eventually 40 people will take part in a rigid, decade-long training program (which sounds very expensive) where the ‘contestants” will essentially be voted off the island to get to the final four astronauts. The selection and training process will be broadcast via television and online to public, with viewers voting on the final selected four.

It’s an intriguing proposition, but one filled with technological hurdles. I’ve just finished reading Ben Bova’s “Mars,” so I’m also thinking the Mars One folks will need to be on the lookout for micrometeorite swarms.

Mars One website.

, , ,



Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
octopusmagnificens
Guest
June 6, 2012 7:37 PM

I love the idea of the one way trip.

gopher65
Member
gopher65
June 6, 2012 8:01 PM

Note that you linked to the incomplete version of the video (I suspect that someone accidently uploaded the wrong version of the video).

Here’s the updated version, where they fixed most of the greenscreen issues:

Rick Eyerdam
Guest
Rick Eyerdam
June 6, 2012 8:42 PM
Reality show: one comes back from Mars By Rick Eyerdam Two scientists, have joined the list of proponents who have proposed that astronauts take a one-way trip to Mars to save money and save embarrassment on the part of NASA which does not know how to build a launch rocket and return system capable of landing living astronauts on Mars and returning them safely on earth Invoking images of Star Trek, the paper called “To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,” Dirk Schulze-Makuch of WSU and Paul Davies of ASU, was published in the non-juried Journal of Cosmology. The two scientists wrote that removing a flight back to earth would prove beneficial in several respects as… Read more »
ose marvin
Guest
ose marvin
June 7, 2012 1:57 PM

This is an excellent show idea. I hope it truly is a one-way trip and they send george w bush, silvio berlusconi, vladimir putin and kim jong-un to mars… That’s what I would call a good start smile

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 7, 2012 7:30 PM
Unfortunately your astrobiology comments were edited out, I was going to respond. Essentially you have misunderstood the usefulness of astrobiology research. What NASA has already done, check for extant or extinct liquid water, is a start. MSL will extend that to a similar search for organics and their preservation conditions. (Incidentally, it will do double duty. A recent paper has revealed that the massive sulfuric sediments that HiRISE and MERs sees can be predicted out of snow fall and melt during ~ 0.1 % of Mars chaotic orbit trajectory since it was aggregated. This means the top of Gale crater may be explained by such water.) What remains is to check for other type of fossils, or possibly… Read more »
kwestdjonmaarc
Member
kwestdjonmaarc
June 6, 2012 8:43 PM
strikes me as a terrible colonial debut in the system. and sad too, borderline psychotic, with that guy all like ‘ooo this is going to be such an interesting experiment, lets get started!”. yeah right pal. we all get to watch people go insane and then die in a sorry excuse for a colony. Ask yourselves this “What would i need on the ground and in orbit in order to agree to become a colonist on Mars.” draw it out until you can say confidently “yes, i would now go to colonize Mars”. Now ask, Why should we force our debut colonists to be stuck in a few square meters of habitable space virtually incapable of doing most… Read more »
kwestdjonmaarc
Member
kwestdjonmaarc
June 6, 2012 8:47 PM

like that rover is gunna pull up the capsules in a nice neat row like that too… these guys are lost in the sauce man. It actually kinda seems like an idea that would have come out of nazi germany to me. Freaky

Bobr
Member
Bobr
June 6, 2012 10:16 PM

I believe you’re the very first aficionado of astronomy (I’m assuming that is why you are at this site) I’ve ever “met” that didn’t have a sense of adventure…

All three of your posts – bummer, man!

kwestdjonmaarc
Member
kwestdjonmaarc
June 7, 2012 5:02 PM
hehehe! if ya only knew me Im for adventure, im less for non-enabling bad plans. The resources are indeed out there to put together a serious colony that will truly enable us to spread out more and learn. I want more for Mars 1, and thats what is compelling me to write like this here. Imagine the falcon supadupa heavy launching 3 story capsules designed link together in a colony with nice bay windows on the top floor. some capsules launched could be garages, labs, sleeping quarters, workshops…all within the launch capacity of the falcon bigtime heavy, whatever their future behemoth will be called. So thats what im pushing for for colonization- def. not ever taking a capsule… Read more »
bugzzz
Member
bugzzz
June 6, 2012 11:33 PM

I agree. This whole thing sound like a stunt. Voting people off to see who goes to Mars? Yeah I’m sure that will vet the best candidate for losing their lives in space. The profit motive corrupts this idea from the start.

Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
June 6, 2012 8:46 PM

I don’t think they are thinking about all of the variables, and many variable remain unknown.

However, this might be the only way to see humans on Mars in our lifetime.

kwestdjonmaarc
Member
kwestdjonmaarc
June 6, 2012 8:57 PM

i would rather have everyone here at home happy in the sunshine and breeze than having to actually claim the existence of humans slowly rotting away in a tiny box on another planet probably loosing their mind. I would be more proud to be human if everyone here on earth happy and in comfort.

weeasle
Member
weeasle
June 7, 2012 10:34 PM

…vent edited… I would love to see humanity branch out but obviously it behooves us to take care of our world before moving to a new one.. That said, Apollo program brought many great techs nasa developed back to earth.. Perhaps they could do an asteroid instead.. The one-way ticket concept, even with billions of $$ thrown at it is sheer lunacy, unless someone finds an underground cave with gigalitres of potable water in it..

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
June 8, 2012 1:59 AM

Even if this particular one isn’t practical, some of us *do* want to go take risks for whatever we consider worthwhile reasons, Peter.

Nor is every single inch of *this* planet an idyllic playground, either…

joseluis7696
Member
joseluis7696
June 6, 2012 9:04 PM

Sounds a little bit wicked

Aqua4U
Member
June 6, 2012 9:24 PM

Am not liking the ‘out in the open’ habitat location shown. Two words – Lava Tube. Use robotics locate and explore potential sites… get serious about rad and dust mitigation!

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 6, 2012 11:45 PM

These astronauts will be exposed to a high and constant dose of radiation.

LC

aerandir
Member
June 7, 2012 12:33 AM

That graphic may possibly be misleading though. From their FAQ section:

Astronauts traveling to Mars are exposed to around 2 to 2.5 times the amount of radiation as those currently on the International Space Station. On the planet itself, the double protection of its atmosphere and the ground covering the Units means that they will receive much less than the ISS astronauts, who are exposed to a factor of 5 at all times.

So they probably do intend to use dirt to create a blockade for the crew though they don’t really specify how. There’s no mention of such plans on their ‘Technology’ page so I don’t know what to conclude with regards to that plan.

Earthling4
Guest
Earthling4
June 7, 2012 9:27 AM

I was taught that lead was an effective barrier to radiation, as with the leaded aprons worn over the torso when one has dental x-rays made. I know that lead is also a cause of cognitive diminishment but if properly controlled this adverse effect can be avoided and possibly lead-coating radiation barriers can strategically be put on the coverings and/or insulation of spacecraft and astronaut space suits, as well as on the coverings or insulation of human settlement dwellings, facilities and plumbing on Mars.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 7, 2012 1:30 PM

Lead is heavy and providing appropriate shielding with lead means considerable costs with the mission.

LC

PattersonWillard24
Guest
PattersonWillard24
June 7, 2012 5:16 PM

m y frien d’s m oth er-i n-la w ma kes $8 5 eve ry h o ur o n th e co mputer. S h e h as be e n o u t o f a jo b for 6 m ont hs b ut l ast mo nth h er p aych eck w as $ 1 91 77 j ust wo rking on the c omp ute r fo r a fe w h our s. R ea d m or e h er e

?????? (C li ck A t My N am e F or L i n k)

aerandir
Member
June 7, 2012 2:08 PM

Unless you’re getting your lead from other sources aside from the Earth, it may be too expensive to use for shielding due to the launch costs associated with lead’s high density

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
June 7, 2012 6:15 PM

“I was taught that lead was an effective barrier to radiation…”

Depends on the radiation in question. Neutrons and the heavy nuclei of galactic cosmic rays are more readily attenuated by light elements. Thus all the suggestions for hydrogen-bearing materials like water, polyethylene plastics and paraffin.

SheppardJewell73
Guest
SheppardJewell73
June 8, 2012 12:21 PM

m y bu ddy’s st ep-m ot h er m ake s $6 2 h ourl y o n the in te rn et. S he ha s be en o u t o f a jo b f or 6 m ont hs b ut la s t m o n th he r c hec k w a s $ 20 978 ju st w orki ng o n th e int er ne t f or a fe w h ou rs. Re ad mo re he re

?????? (C li ck A t My N am e F or L i n k)

proximacentauribeta
Member
June 6, 2012 11:08 PM

Yeehhhh… Space race!! Or they’re setting up a camp in a desert somewhere and make us believe it’s on Mars.

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
June 8, 2012 1:55 AM

Do you know the expression; “The only way two people can keep a secret, is if one of them is dead?”

Just as with the Moon conspiracy theories, you could never have the necessary number of people guaranteed to keep quiet forever.

BorgWorshipper
Guest
BorgWorshipper
June 6, 2012 11:27 PM

Why would or could Thales Alenia Space build a SpaceX Dragon Rider? SpaceX built the Dragon to be manned and Mars rated using powered landings. The powered landings and manned version are still being tested, but the production lines are open.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 7, 2012 7:33 PM

As I understand it Thales Alenia Space will build the transMars craft using ISS type of meteorite and radiation shielded sections. This is what NASA plans for their longtime translunar crafts too.

BorgWorshipper
Guest
BorgWorshipper
June 8, 2012 3:18 AM

Makes more sense now, I read it wrong. Thx.

aerandir
Member
June 6, 2012 7:29 PM

Haste makes waste.

gopher65
Member
gopher65
June 6, 2012 8:38 PM

I agree. But at the same time, they are billing this as a reality TV show. A death or 2 in the first few groups of settles will give them a ratings bump. It’s sad, but I’m sure they’ve taken that possibility into consideration.

Of course I’m sure they’re hoping for picture perfect missions and a swiftly growing population on Mars, but if something bad does happen, well, it isn’t the end of the worldrazz.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 7, 2012 7:21 PM

I don’t think one-way settlers intend to play it safe. But it would behoove the project to check if years of Mars gravity is survivable for humans first.

aerandir
Member
June 8, 2012 1:39 AM

If a long duration mission to purely test the effects of Martian gravity is desired, then it can be done in an orbital outpost with artificial-G systems in a much more controlled environment. It will be much cheaper and safer. Not only can you study physiology but you can also experiment on hydroponics or perhaps even Mars-soil based agriculture. In fact, I don’t see this as an alternative but as one of many pre-requisite stepping-stone missions as part of greater long-term colonization research studies.

Gore Gogore
Guest
Gore Gogore
June 8, 2012 6:15 PM

would you pay for that test ?

Zoutsteen
Member
Zoutsteen
June 7, 2012 12:15 AM

We gonna see a half mars 500 project with a gaschamber at the end to see if it works before investing 6bn?

I’m sorry, big no to me. This just just lunacy.

Shawn
Guest
Shawn
June 6, 2012 11:01 PM
It would make a heck of a lot more sense to look for caves to live in, you can eventually control the atmosphere in them, grow food, and provide larger living quarters. I think the idea is completely wacked out though. We need to develop a colony on the moon first. Mars is going to take more than those little piddled up “habitats”, and anyone who would go there to live in one needs their head examined. With a moon base, we would gain the knowledge necessary for Mars colonization, with less risk. They plan to pay for it with media sensationalism, but then when the hoopla dies down, the people on Mars would be left with their… Read more »
Kevin Frushour
Guest
June 7, 2012 4:29 AM

I don’t like the whole “reality TV” aspect… but… if it gets us to Mars in my lifetime, pass the popcorn.

Darrin Mattson
Guest
Darrin Mattson
June 7, 2012 4:38 AM
So humans kill each other by the thousands every year ( take a look at Syria for just a taste of atrosities) and the only risk there was being born in a place on Earth that that happens. There are comments here from some worried about these risk takers welfare. I can’t come up with a logical arguement that says this is stupid and what happens if they get hurt or sick. So what. Are people going to die going to Mars? Duh! If i signed up for it and was lucky enough to go, let me worry about the outcome. I am so tired about hearing others views on safety. Almost sounds like a religion thing that… Read more »
delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
June 8, 2012 1:46 AM

“As far as I can tell, we are not done killing each other here on Earth yet for us to try to get to another planet…”

We went to the Moon (itself an aspect of the Cold War) at the height of the Vietnam War. As much as some might not like humanity to leave Earth until we’re all good little boys and girls (as if that’s likely, or that the Universe cares either way), one has nothing to do with the other.

Darrin Mattson
Guest
Darrin Mattson
June 7, 2012 4:38 AM
So humans kill each other by the thousands every year ( take a look at Syria for just a taste of atrosities) and the only risk there was being born in a place on Earth that that happens. There are comments here from some worried about these risk takers welfare. I can’t come up with a logical arguement that says this is stupid and what happens if they get hurt or sick. So what. Are people going to die going to Mars? Duh! If i signed up for it and was lucky enough to go, let me worry about the outcome. I am so tired about hearing others views on safety. Almost sounds like a religion thing that… Read more »
Ethan Walker
Guest
Ethan Walker
June 7, 2012 7:27 AM
it will be “much easier to build the returning rocket there.” This is plainly batshit crazy. Interplanetary propulsion systems are not among the initial products that a fledgling mars industry would be capable of producing. Also, given that >80% of the return craft mass at liftoff would be fuel, and there are perfectly reasonable plans for in situ fueling on mars, this plan is not only delusional but unnecessary. As for those saying that this is exactly the sort of thing we need to inspire further investment in space, I would counter that if you treat mars exploration like a stunt, people will likely think of it as a stunt, and when the stunt ends in tears don’t… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 7, 2012 7:39 PM

I took it to mean that they could assemble delivered parts and produce in situ fuel (totally if they get to water, else with the help of a little delivered hydrogen) for a return craft if needed.

Presumably colonizers doesn’t want to return if they can make a life and establish families on Mars. But some will, and eventually their children may want to. They may never be able to visit Earth, plastically adapted as their bodies will be to a much lower gravity, but they may visit or return to LEO space stations.

Earthling4
Guest
Earthling4
June 7, 2012 9:05 AM
Proceed with caution and care: A a long-term simulation real-life Mars village, with bio-medically and psychologically fit, compatible and appropriate male and female humans, prefiguring the village to be established on Mars, should be first established on Earth first in a test or trial environment best resembling the Mars settlement environment for identifying and resolving otherwise unforeseen glitches and problems in the village operation and human relations and functioning in the actual Mars village. Several different test groups individually should successively be rotated through the simulation village. The village buildings should be covered with solar panels and have on-site molten salt solar electric storage for nighttime solar electricity retrieval (together making for endless and continuous day-and-night solar electricity… Read more »
Trevor
Guest
Trevor
June 7, 2012 5:23 AM

I’m disappointed that Universe Today would waste digital space on this obvious fraud. I thought you guys prided yourselves on debunking people like Bas Landsdorp.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor
June 7, 2012 5:23 AM

I’m disappointed that Universe Today would waste digital space on this obvious fraud. I thought you guys prided yourselves on debunking people like Bas Landsdorp.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 7, 2012 7:34 PM

I think they can leave it to their readership.

What is your basis to claim obvious fraud? I can’t see that.

legoman
Member
legoman
June 7, 2012 10:11 AM

Is it April 1st today?
But just for fun, I reckon the cave idea is best. They will need room to have a bit of fun and develop new sports like variations of table tennis and snooker/pool.

wpDiscuz