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  [Discuss] Mars One's plans for 2023 Mars colony

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Mars One's plans for 2023 Mars colony
Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2013 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: To keep the topic Mars One Foundation human settlement on Mars focused on status updates, feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Mars One's plans to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet in 2023.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 01-08-2013 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good news: Mars needs women... and men. Bad news: It's an eight-year commitment even before you get there. But if you want to get away from it all, they issued their requirements for astronaut selection:
Unique to all other space exploration endeavors before it, Mars One is opening the astronaut program to anyone on planet Earth that meets the base criteria. It is not necessary to have military training nor experience in flying aircraft nor even a science degree. It is most important that each applicant be intelligent, in good mental and physical health, and be willing to dedicate eight years to training and learning before making the journey to his or her new home on Mars.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-08-2013 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...and be willing to make a one way trip.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-22-2013 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mars One release
Mars One launch astronaut selection on Youtube and Twitter

Mars One will launch its Astronaut Selection Program on the 22nd of April 2013 at a press conference in New York. The event will be streamed live on YouTube.

The briefing will be moderated by Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor at the Planetary Society. The panel will include:

  • Bas Lansdorp, General Director and Co-Founder, Mars One
  • Norbert Kraft, Medical Director, Mars One
  • Gerard't Hooft, Nobel laureate and Ambassador, Mars One
  • Grant Anderson, Sr. VP Operations, Chief Engineer and Co-Founder, Paragon Space Development Corporation
  • Bryan Versteeg, Mission Concept Artist, Mars One
Date and Time: 22nd April, starts 12:00 p.m. EDT ends 1:30 p.m. EDT.

You can be a part of the Q&A by sending us your questions and opinions via Twitter by using the hashtag #MarsOneLaunch.

David C
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posted 04-23-2013 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When's the closing date for applications?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-23-2013 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Round One ends on August 31, 2013.

Tykeanaut
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posted 04-23-2013 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope I'm wrong but I can't see this happening by 2023.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-23-2013 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Their press conference left a lot to be desired. They were unwilling to elaborate on how they arrived at a $6 billion price tag for the mission, making it near impossible to assess their credibility.

And then there is how they plan to raise the $6 billion. They expect the bulk to be underwritten by the media rights.

To pay for the Mars mission, the Mars One foundation receives revenues from the license fee from the Interplanetary Media Group, sponsors, donations and the sales of merchandise. When the media interest grows, a large fraction of the revenues will come from the license fee that IMG pays to the Mars One foundation. The Mars One foundation currently holds about 90% of the shares in IMG. This means that the Mars One foundation will receive 90% of the profit of IMG besides the license fee - all funds that will be spent on the Human Mission to Mars.
I asked them about this during the press conference (via Twitter):
#MarsOneProject Multiple TV networks failed to fund cheaper, shorter space station trips. Why think they'll fund Mars flight?
Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of Mars One, replied:
"Because they were cheaper and shorter spaceflights. The key to the interest of people is doing something that is so great that it will capture the interest of everyone. If you do something that has been done before, like a suborbital flight, which was something that was even less dramatic than the first human to fly in space, this is just something that the people are not interested in. It is about the human adventure of discovering a new planet and that is something that people are interested in. It is exactly the greatness that makes it possible to finance this.
I believe there are several things wrong with Lansdorp's assertion, including the fact that people, in general, have a short attention span and the networks know this. Heck, the majority of the world lost interest in the moon landings after Apollo 11.

Another key point is why the previous reality TV shows built around a spaceflight have failed: it wasn't just the funding, but the inability of the networks to obtain insurance. Alan Boyle with NBC News touched on this point in his coverage of the Mars One press conference:

When it comes to reality TV, money and the willingness to take on risks are the keys to success, said Hollywood producer David Krieff. He should know: Ten years ago, Krieff helped put pop singer Lance Bass through Russian cosmonaut training for a reality-TV project that would have sent him to the International Space Station. The project fizzled out when TV executives, potential sponsors and insurers got cold feet.

Krieff had some words of advice for Mars One's organizers: "I wish them luck, but I would say have the money in the bank — and most of all, have all the liabilities taken care of," he said. "The risks and the insurance and the money is a lot of work. These things are always more expensive than you expect."

On edit: To clarify, I think the media rights to a manned mission to Mars could be huge, but I don't think they are reliable enough to fund the mission from the start. I think you could recoup a good part of any investment toward such a flight from media and ad buys, but to hinge the success of the flight on the networks seems less than a sure thing.

mode1charlie
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posted 04-23-2013 11:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...to hinge the success of the flight on the networks seems less than a sure thing.

To say the least. I chided others for being negative about Inspiration Mars - a project that seems much more credible given that it has some level of funding and plausible hardware. So I'll try to avoid being negative and simply say that I'm deeply skeptical. Investors care about getting a return on their investment, and so given the very high possibility of a completely disastrous outcome it's hard to see how networks will be willing to pony up a very sizable amount of cash for such a project.

Ronpur
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posted 04-24-2013 06:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I seriously worry what would happen to the colonists if the "show" is cancelled and the funds dry up for supplies. Having the crew starve or suffocate on the surface of Mars would be pretty horrifying. But, even having said that, I would still go!

Ross
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posted 04-24-2013 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A realistic mission plan has been designed using only existing technology available through the private space industry
Are they kidding! Presently there is no rocket capable of doing the job, no spacecraft, no lander, major problems with a mission of that length which haven't been solved including protection from radiation, physiological and psychological questions. And I could name many more.

If NASA had Apollo type funding immediately they may be able to do it by 2023, although I suspect safety concerns would stretch it out closer to 2030. Remember, there are major problems going to Mars that weren't present going to the Moon. And some require innovations not yet developed (although they may be on someone's drawing board).

I hate to be a pessimist but no private company will be able to safely send people to Mars by 2023!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-24-2013 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, let's look at their mission architecture:
  • Launcher: Mars One anticipates use of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 which is in use by SpaceX now. The Falcon Heavy is slated to undergo test flights in 2013, granting ample time for fine-tuning prior to the Mars One missions which begin in 2016.

  • Lander: Mars One anticipates use of a variant of the SpaceX Dragon capsule, first tested in 2010. This is the same vehicle which successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) in May of 2012. The lander Mars One requires will be slightly larger than the current Dragon. The Lander will be used for 5 functions:
    1. Life Support Unit: A Lander that contains the systems for the generation of energy, water and breathable air within the settlement.
    2. Supply Unit: A Lander that contains food, spare parts and other smaller components.
    3. Living Unit: This Unit is a Lander that is outfitted with a special inflatable section. After reaching the surface of Mars, this allows it to create a large living space for humans.
    4. Human Lander: This is the unit which carries the astronauts to the surface of Mars.
    5. Rover Lander: This is the unit which carries the rovers to the surface of Mars.
In a nutshell, they plan to land five modified Dragon capsules (SpaceX is already designing Dragon to have landing legs, much like their efforts with the Grasshopper test vehicle), connect them together and dedicate each to a different mission need.

Of course, they also need to develop the "semi-autonomous" rover, spacesuit and comm system.

If they had $6 billion in the bank today and hiring SpaceX and others to start work today for a mission launching in 10 years, I would say it could be doable, but they don't have funding and seem to be relying on SpaceX and others advancing development of their needed vehicles independently of the Mars One schedule.

David C
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posted 04-24-2013 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like to be optimistic about this but there seem to be two major problems:
  1. Funding, we can discuss quantities all day but as I see it the real problem is lack of persistent security of funds. Colonising Mars will take decades, sustained high level media attention for 20 or 30 years, I don't think so. I certainly wouldn't bet my life on re-supply and future waves of colonists actually appearing.
  2. Colonise a planet with four people, you must be kidding. I suggest that critical mass is an order of magnitude larger.
Lots of other issues but to me those are show stoppers.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-24-2013 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
Colonise a planet with four people...
Four people is only the first mission...
A new group of four astronauts will land on Mars every two years, steadily increasing the settlement's size.
Of course, that means Mars One will need to raise billions of dollars every couple of years after the first $6 billion mission is launched.

issman1
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posted 04-24-2013 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure whose more in need of a reality check: Inspiration Mars or Mars One? Surely the people behind this one-way trip must know by now that money is readily available for earthly war than colonising the Roman god of war.

And just in case I might appear cynical about their ambitious plan, I'm even more skeptical about ever seeing a human mission to Mars by the likes of NASA or ESA - in my lifetime!

Ross
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posted 04-25-2013 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...they plan to land five modified Dragon capsules
I usually agree with you Robert, but really. Only two nations have ever landed a spacecraft on another planet. This company and any associated company has no experience at all in landers, yet they expect to land not 1, not 2 but 5 Dragon capsules plus an additional one with a rover on Mars and then a further manned capsule!

And there is still no design for a spacecraft that can safely carry people to Mars. The moon, yes. Asteroids, probably. Mars, no. The modified Dragon capsule is not suitable, as far as I can see, to safely reach Mars for a manned mission. That is also the problem with all the talk about NASA using present designs to go to Mars. They are not suitable without major modifications which nobody has agreed on the design. One example, radiation protection is still only in the theoretical stage and may very well add considerable weight to the capsule. Not need for unmanned capsules but essential for a manned capsule.

And that doesn't include...

The supply mission will be launched for Mars in January 2016
and
In 2018 the first settlement rover will land on Mars
In addition, after the first manned landing
A few weeks later, five cargo missions arrive, bringing additional living units, life support units, and a third rover.
Five more missions! Come on. Does anyone really believe that this company can land 11 cargo capsules, three rovers and a crewed capsule by 2023, and the first by 2016! No way, even if they get $6 billion in funding. I really can't take this crowd seriously.

Jay Chladek
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posted 04-25-2013 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the Gemini derived Eclipse project has a better chance of going off than this and THAT project I am very skeptical about.

dabolton
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posted 04-25-2013 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How could they precision land those so close together and if so wouldn't they burn the vehicle they land next too. Unless they are planning a way to tow the capsules into position after landing farther away the the habitat.

David C
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posted 04-26-2013 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed a guy on another website commenting that he considered that it was a scam. I felt he was being cynical. Thinking about it a bit more, maybe he's right.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-26-2013 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ross:
Only two nations have ever landed a spacecraft on another planet.
Just a point of fact: people and companies built the spacecraft that landed on Mars, not countries. And before they did, they didn't have any experience doing so either. And they didn't have the benefit of learning from those who have.

So I wouldn't write off SpaceX, or any other company, if well-enough funded, from pulling off a 10-year development of a Mars capable craft.

That said, I am in no way saying that Mars One fits that bill. Literally, they haven't the money to launch the engineering effort, let alone the missions they plan...

johntosullivan
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posted 05-13-2013 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just listened to Bas Lansdorp of Mars One on The Space Show and he's claiming that he will have a rover on Mars and a relay comms satellite in orbit of Mars in 2016.

How are people like this given the oxygen of publicity? In any other industry, they would be laughed off the stage.

Tykeanaut
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posted 05-13-2013 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aside from any technological problems the human aspect is something few appear to consider fully?

Tykeanaut
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posted 05-28-2013 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wouldn't want to be "holed-up" in an Apollo type command module for the length of time it takes to get to Mars. Forgive my ignorance if this is wrong, as perhaps a larger craft is being envisaged?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-10-2013 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johntosullivan:
...he will have a rover on Mars and a relay comms satellite in orbit of Mars in 2016.
Per today's announcement, the orbiter and rover are now being targeted for 2018.

COR482932
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posted 12-30-2013 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for COR482932   Click Here to Email COR482932     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it is important to realise that in order to land a man on the Moon in the 1960s, NASA had to fly 6 Mercury flights, 10 Gemini flights and 4 Apollo flights in order to make the first manned landing. Each one of these 20 flights were critically important in allowing everyone involved to learn new techniques and improve on mistakes made.

I just feel that with the Mars One organisation setting a goal of landing humans on Mars by 2023 and every two years after that, that it is an goal which simply needs more time to be thought out properly to ensure that they don't rush into anything that may ultimately end up costing someone their life. To me it's kind of like if NASA launched a manned lunar mission as their very first flight, with no previous missions under their belt, without testing other systems and flight hardware and software. Besides, $6 billion is a lot of money!

I'm all for going to Mars, it would be a dream come true. I'm showing my youth here by telling everyone that I wouldn't even be born for another 24 years after Gene Cernan left his last footprint on the lunar surface. What I'm saying is that I've never seen humans go beyond low-Earth orbit during my lifetime, which makes me kinda sad. I can't imagine how the Moonwalkers feel about no one following in their footsteps.

Anyone else think Mars One should attempt some landings on a place like the Moon to get some sort of understanding as to how their overall systems operate? The Moon is a lot closer to us than Mars let's put it that way!

I just think they're moving too fast.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-03-2014 06:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mars One and multi-award winning factual producer DSP (an Endemol company) today announced they have entered an international partnership to screen the mission to send the world's first one way astronauts to Mars.
Endemol is responsible for Big Brother. Let's hope they can raise the intellectual bar with this production (not hard).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-08-2014 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though not entirely surprising, a team of MIT students have found that Mars One's concept to send people on one-way missions to establish a settlement on the Red Planet offers a bleak picture of the outcome, SpacePolicyOnline reports.
The lead author, Sydney Do, a Ph.D. candidate in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, said via email that in his view "the Mars One Concept is unsustainable" because of the current state of technology and its "aggressive expansion approach" of quickly adding more and more people rather than keeping the settlement at a fixed size for a period of time.

The paper acknowledges that the study was based on "the best available information” and the team is willing to update their analysis if more information becomes available.

Among the key conclusions:
If crops grown on Mars are the only food source, they will "produce unsafe oxygen levels in the habitat" resulting in the first crew fatality after about 68 days due to "suffocation from too low an oxygen partial pressure within the environment," the consequence of a complex series of events stemming from overproduction of oxygen by the plants.
In response, Mars One's Bas Lansdorp said he felt the students' analysis was incorrect but that his company did not have the time to reply to all the questions received from students.

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-02-2014 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I literally cannot see this idea getting off the ground.

SpaceAholic
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posted 12-02-2014 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If crops grown on Mars are the only food source, they will "produce unsafe oxygen levels in the habitat" resulting in the first crew fatality after about 68 days due to "suffocation from too low an oxygen partial pressure within the environment," the consequence of a complex series of events stemming from overproduction of oxygen by the plants.

Mop up the excess O2 with oxygen sequestration - problem solved.

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-12-2014 05:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At a recent Chris Hadfield talk and book signing I attended, he said that he suffered about an 8% bone loss after returning after his last mission, particularly around the hip region. Happily he has now fully recovered and can run again quite easily along with other activities.

On a mission to Mars, would bone-loss continue to increase or reach a plateau? If degeneration continued would an astronaut ever recover upon return to the Earth?

Another problem Col. Hadfield spoke about was the radiation strikes visible when his eyes were closed. On a long trip improved shielding would surely be another necessity?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-12-2014 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mars One does not plan to return its colony members to Earth — it is a one-way trip — so it doesn't fall into their concerns.

That said, studies aboard the space station have shown that a daily regiment of exercise stabilizes bone and muscle loss to the point that, like Hadfield, crew members can recover once back on Earth. Next year's 12-month mission will inform this as well.

Radiation shielding is a known concern for Mars-bound craft, and there are several approaches that have been proposed. Orion's EFT-1 mission carried an advanced radiation sensor to measure the levels while the craft lingered in the lower van Allen belts as one data point towards this problem.

All times are CT (US)

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