- This summer there will be a two-year televised worldwide search for four people to train as astronauts for a trip to Mars in 2023, and NASA won’t be sending them. It may sound like science fiction, but this a deadly serious endeavor by a private company in the Netherlands called Mars One.
WWWAlready, Mars One has received 10,000 emails from interested people. It’s especially impressive that that many people want to leave this Earth, because unbelievably, it’s a one-way trip to colonize the planet. Anyone who is over 18 years-old can apply with a one-minute video of themselves expressing why they think they should be chosen.
Mars One was founded is 2011, the members coming together to develop a plan for man to reach Mars. So far it has contracted with Paragon Space Development Corp., to design life support and space suite systems, and is in discussions with SpaceX for the spacecraft, Canada’s MDA Robotics for the rovers, Thales Alenia Space in Italy for the MTV (Mars Transit Vehicle), ILC Dover, Astrobiotic, and Surrey Satellite. For every component, Mars One has at least one potential supplier.
WWWHow do they intend to raise the money? By an ongoing, global media reality series, from the selection of the astronauts, their training, and from lift-off to
landing. From a group of astronauts chosen by the Mars One experts, the audience will get to choose who actually goes. Co-founder of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp says, “We will finance this mission by creating the biggest media event ever. Everyone in the world will be able to see everything that will happen in the preparations and on Mars.”
WWWThe first equipment to arrive on Mars will be a communications satellite in 2016, a demonstration rover in 2018 to search Mars for the best location for the settlement, and a 5,500-pound supply lander.
By July 2015, twenty-four astronauts will be selected and organized into six teams of four people, and they will be put through eight years of training, spending three months at a time in a Mars colony simulation every two years under stressful situations, to learn how they respond in close living quarters while isolated from the rest of the world. They will learn new skills such as construction and electrical repair, cultivating crops in confined spaces, and dealing with routine and serious medical situations like dental maintenance, bone fractures and muscle tears.
The The Mars lander will be tested eight times before landing the first team.
The flight will take the astronauts between seven to eight months starting in September 2022, spending those months in an uncomfortably small space, not being able to shower, rather washing with wet towelettes, and eating freeze dried and canned food. Noise will be constant from the ventilators, computer and life support systems, with three hours of exercise every day to keep their muscles from atrophying. If they encounter a solar storm, they will take protection in an even smaller sheltered area, as long as several days.
Landing and Colonization
When the first team of four land on April 24, 2023, there will already be in place a colony of habitats and solar arrays that started construction before they left Earth, the rovers doing much of the heavy construction before their arrival. The units they will live in are spacious by comparison to their flight space—550 square feet per person or 2,200 square feet combined interior space, all connected by passageways so they are able to move freely from one end of the settlement to the other.
WWWThey will be able to finally shower and prepare fresh food which they will grow themselves, and they will conduct research on how their bodies are responding and changing due to living in a gravitational pull 38% of that on Earth—a 200 lb. man would weigh 76 lbs.. a 125 lb. woman, 48 lbs.
WWWThe colony will initially have two rovers, two habitats, two life support landers and two supply landers, and a new group of astronauts will come to Mars every two years increasing the colony’s size.
WWWThe most intriguing aspect of the mission is the people; those that are willing to accept the fact that they are going to another planet for the rest of their lives. That’s a commitment that is certainly frightening to most of us, arousing and mixing our emotions where we don’t know whether to admire or look upon them as insane. Nevertheless, this is an exciting prospect, to actually watch these intrepid pioneers go where no man has ever gone before.