Mars One: The Project Is Underway
Mars One, the brainchild of entrepreneurs Bas Lansdrop and Arno Wielders, will pioneer a sustainable living alternative for humans on Mars and deliver a reality TV show in the process. Regardless of the outcome, the project will inspire a number of advancements in environmental and transportation areas. Lansdrop and Wielders will bring about this project in three stages that will take place over the next 10 years: crew selection, preparation, and execution. The process is already in motion, with the two developers currently setting up teams of crews and scientists to make this program as solid as possible.
In April of 2013, Mars One began its Astronaut Selection Program, which will also be broken down into three stages: initial selection, secondary camp, and final crew selections. Though the selection program began in 2013 with an online application, organizers are not expecting to have the final pool of astronauts until 2015. Preliminary physical requirements have taken into account applicant height, between 5’2” and 6’2”, and a sitting blood pressure of 140/90. After Round 1 of recruitment, the Mars One applicants will enter an additional three rounds of testing. After this, they will enter training to prepare for the final group. Expecting dropouts by the hundreds, Mars One has created contingency plans to fill vacant slots left by those deemed unfit for service or who decide to drop out due to other reasons.
The preparation stage of this project will be lengthened by all the developments that must go into the process before it becomes fully ready. This will consist of the development of three main new technologies developed for the sole reason of reaching Mars. This phase will last from 2011 to about 2024, which is necessary as scientists and planners will still need to develop the new technology needed for the venture.
Scientists are working on the development of two rovers that will arrive years before the astronauts. The rovers will lay the groundwork for astronauts’ landing and settlement preparation. One of them will scout all over Mars for the best place to execute the final stage of the development of the settlement. The second rover will carry the supplies necessary for the settlement’s establishment. The Mars Transit Vehicle will be the next component in the development process. This will be the spaceship they use to get to Mars, and it will include the living compartments for the astronauts’ trip. However, the vehicle will not actually land on Mars due to its weight. They will use it to get to the atmosphere, and then they will use a secondary transport to get down to the settlement. Modified space suits will become the next development project as current suits are not sufficient for the Mars environment.
The settlement will be fully installed before the arrival of the first crew by using the second rover to set up the complete base. When the crews are ready in 2024, they will launch on their trek towards Mars. Living on the Mars Transit Vehicle, they will spend the year of travel time being watched by the world on their reality TV show. When they arrive on Mars, they will start to assemble the Mars Lander and launch from there to the settlement. At this point, the astronauts will have reached their final destination, where they will spend the rest of their lives.
Though the notion of a new reality show isn’t particularly groundbreaking, the idea of cameras being trained on a moment that could change the course of human history most certainly is. The series of events that will ultimately result in human colonization of Mars may seem improbable to some, but the dedication of committed team members like Lansdrop and Wielders will no doubt lead to the success of this project. The event will signal a profound human achievement.