A Dutch company is making plans to send a team of amateur astronauts on a one way mission to mars to establish the first human space colony. The mission has been dubbed “Mars One”. Lockheed Martin is working on a lander for the company. Lockheed is well known for working on many NASA missions so there is experience there.
The lander will launch with a communications satellite that will go into orbit over Mars and provide video and data links from the surface of the planet back to Earth. The UK company, Surrey Satellites (SSTL), has signed a contract to work on the communications probe.
If the launch goes ahead as planned, it will mark the first privately funded mission to explore another planet. “That is really, really cool,” said Ed Sedivy, a chief engineer at Lockheed Martin who was spacecraft manager on Nasa’s Phoenix mission. “This is the dawn of a new era of space exploration.”
Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One, told reporters at a press briefing in Washington DC on Tuesday that the robotic mission was “the first step in Mars One’s overall plan of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars”.
Lansdorp believes the human mission to Mars would cost as little as $6bn, but Michael Listner, an expert on space law has put the total bill at closer to $1tn. Most of the cost must be paid for by philanthropists, sponsorship, and broadcast rights: the Mars One business model turns space travel – and a real risk of death – into a reality TV show that will follow the astronauts through their mission.
Should the first human mission go ahead, Mars One hopes to send further crews every two years. None will expect to come home, but instead would remain on the planet as the first extraterrestrial colony. Lansdorp said the company had received more than 200,000 applications from people who wanted to be among the first to fly to Mars. Each application costs as much as $75. Those who go through to the next round of assessments will hear by the end of the year, he said.
Exciting times but also scary times. I for one wouldn’t want to make this trip with no return but I respect those who are willing to do it. Hit the link below for source and more of the story.
Source: The Guardian
- Mars One Contracts Lockheed Martin, Surrey Satellite for Mission Concept Studies (parabolicarc.com)
- Robotic mission to Mars announced to pave way for first human space colony (theguardian.com)
- 200,000 people apply to live on Mars (fox2now.com)
- Mars One plans unmanned 2018 mission in deal with Lockheed Martin and satellite company (theverge.com)
- Mars One unveils plan for private Red Planet robotic mission in 2018 (nbcnews.com)
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