Mars One Mission

Colette Garcia

Fast forward ten years into the future and the world is probably a bit different.  Unfortunately, flying cars will most likely still not exist and hover-boards will still be the coolest toy ever invented but not actually manufactured.  However, one prediction of the future seemingly coming to fruition within in the next decade is the possibility of starting a human settlement on another planet.  Behind this endeavor is the non-profit Mars One organization based in the Netherlands and originally created by Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders.  Set to finish by 2027, the organization is aiming to land the first humans on Mars and establish a small colony of people on the planet.

The Mars One mission already has several steps in progress ranging from astronaut selection and eligibility tests, to funding and expense planning, to the science and technology behind the project.  The application process for potential Mars One colonials, those selected to actually inhabit mars, involved videos, letters, and resumes in addition to general information required for normal job applications.  Because this mission is a one way trip, Mars One is looking for the candidates most passionate about the mission who will be able to thrive on Mars for the remainder of their lives. There was an estimated 2,761 applicants from many different countries that were then interviewed further and narrowed down to about 1,058 people. In the past year or so that number was trimmed due to health issues and personal reflection about never returning to Earth, which left Mars One with a group of 353 qualified men and women.  This year one more cut has been made, leaving the pool of potential Mars-goers at 100, evenly split with 50 women and 50 men.  The majority of the one hundred candidates originate from the United States, Britain, and Asia, but some originate from Africa and Oceania.  The average trend depicts most recruits as under the age of thirty-six with well-educated backgrounds.

Funding for the mission initially started with the application fee from potential astronauts, and has now evolved to include sources like reality TV, sponsors, and donation drives. Through Merchandise the group states they have made around $795,185 as of February 2014, and additionally have used crowdfunding to gain money for their activities. The biggest need for funding and donation support is in the design concepts, with travel and other expenses being considered after.

The timeline for the mission is also continuously being altered to keep up to date with progress.  By 2022 a rover will scope out the land on Mars and choose an inhabitable and easily accessible landscape for the future settlement.  By 2024 the cargo will be launched, and given all things according to plan, the first module spacecraft containing four astronauts will launch to begin colonization in 2026. Finally by 2027 that module will arrive on Mars and the first colonists will be taken to the settlement.

Recently the project has been under attack, receiving accusations that it is a scam on the account that a $6 billion budget is almost impossible given the resources needed for such an advanced project. There have also been questions of social and moral implications of sending humans to Mars with no intent to bring them back.  As enticing as the project sounds, until physical evidence and information of the legitimacy of the Mars One mission is explained, the jury is out on whether man will make this next great leap.