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Mars Colony Project to begin astronaut search by July 2013


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For those who'd rather not enter the AXE Space Academy contest just to get into space.  ::)


Mars Colony Project to Begin Astronaut Search by July

By Rob Coppinger, SPACE.com Contributor  | SPACE.com – 7 hours ago.

LONDON — A nonprofit organization that aims to land four astronauts on Mars in 2023 will kick off its two-year, televised search for Red Planet explorers by this summer.

The Netherlands-based Mars One will begin accepting application videos sometime between now and July, charging a fee to weed out folks who aren't serious about their candidacy. The group hopes to raise millions of dollars this way, with the proceeds paying for the ongoing selection process and technology studies.

"We expect a million applications with 1-minute videos, and hopefully some of those videos will go viral,” Mars One co-founder and chief executive officer Bas Lansdorp told SPACE.com on April 10. He was in London to speak to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) that day.

Mars One now has 45,000 people registered for its mailing list and has already received 10,000 emails from interested individuals, Lansdorp added. The organization will unveil more details about its astronaut selection process at a press conference in New York City on April 22.

A one-way trip to Mars

Mars One is casting a wide net, seeking applicants from all over the world. Application fees will vary from country to country, with folks from poorer nations getting a price break, Lansdorp said. The maximum fee will apparently be $25.

Anyone who is at least 18 years old can apply by sending in a video explaining why he or she should be selected. But prospective colonists must be prepared to say goodbye to Earth forever; there are no plans at this point to bring Mars One astronauts home.

By July 2015, Mars One wants to have 24 astronauts, organized into six teams of four people. Those teams then face seven years of training that will include spending three months at a time in a replica of the Mars colony.

"We will give them all the most stressful situations,” Lansdorp told the BIS audience on April 10, adding that the training base will have a 40-minute communications delay to replicate the time lag that would exist due to the vast distance between Earth and Mars.

Mars One officials expect some individuals and teams to fail these tests, so from 2015 on, the nonprofit will have an annual process to select 12 people (in three teams of four).

"We will always have about 10 groups [of four] in training, so if one group drops out, there will be replacement crews," Lansdorp told SPACE.com. This will continue even after 2023, because Mars One plans to send more colonists to the Red Planet every two years for as long as funding levels will allow.

Interplanetary 'Big Brother'

Mars One estimates that it needs $6 billion to send the first four astronauts to Mars. This money will cover developing the landing systems, habitats, Mars Transit Vehicle (MTV), rovers, solar arrays and other technologies associated with the colony, as well as pay for the crew's journey from Earth.

Every subsequent crew trip would cost $4 billion, Lansdorp told SPACE.com. Just sending a supply lander would cost $250 million.

Mars One plans to raise this money largely through a global reality television series that will follow the colonization effort from astronaut selection to the first landing and the settlement’s expansion.

The audience will vote for who gets to go to Mars from a pool of candidates selected by Mars One’s experts. Lansdorp points to the 2012 London Olympics and the $4 billion it generated from television revenues over its three weeks as evidence that such a funding plan can work.

Meanwhile, the application video revenue will finance early technology studies and prove there is demand for a television show. ['Big Brother' on Mars? (Video)]

“We can prove to the broadcasters that there is real demand and interest, and we will start negotiations after the [astronaut] selection procedure begins,” Lansdorp told SPACE.com.

Beyond the applicant videos and television show, future revenues include crowdfunding, exploiting the technologies developed for Earth’s markets and doing research on Mars for governments. For example, Mars One could eventually send samples of Martian soil to Earth, officials say.

Mission details taking shape

While the Mars spacecraft has yet to be designed, Lansdorp told the BIS audience that for the 210-day journey, the vehicle would have a hollow 660-gallon (2,500 liters) water tank with four compartments.

Astronauts would sleep in this area and use it as shelter from extreme solar radiation events. The water equates to a 9.84-inch (25 centimeters) column for radiation protection, which Lansdorp told the BIS is what NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) suggest for a return mission.

When the first team of four lands at the settlement’s location on April 24, 2023, the settlers will find a colony whose habitats and solar arrays started working before they left Earth. Lansdorp told SPACE.com that the colony will be located between 40 and 45 degrees north latitude.

"We want to be as south as possible for sunlight and north enough for water," he said, adding that the colony would be at a location that is 1.55 miles (2.5 kilometers) lower than Mars’ average ground level, to give the arriving spacecraft more time to land.

The colony will initially have rovers, two habitats, two life support landers and two supply landers. Mars One is designing five types of landers for life support, supplies, habitat and those that land the crew and rovers. The first equipment to be sent to Mars will be a communications satellite, a demonstration rover and a 5,500-pound (2,500 kilograms) supply lander, officials said.

"We have a conceptual rover right now. It is very likely there will be two rovers — one trailer rover and one intelligent rover that does all the advanced tasks,” Lansdorp told SPACE.com. The trailer rover will move landers from their landing point to the settlement, a distance not expected to exceed about 1 mile (1.6 km).

The colony’s habitats will be connected by fabric tunnels and covered in 6 feet (1.8 m) of Martian soil, to provide radiation protection. Lansdorp told the BIS audience that with the colony’s expected outdoor activities, the colonists will get a radiation dose over 10 years equal to that of ESA’s maximum allowed for its astronauts, which he described as “very safe."

At the same time the first team lands, the second crew’s habitat lander will also arrive. As well as being ready for the second crew's 2025 arrival, this habitat can be used by the first crew if they encounter problems with their own equipment.

The colony will have inflatable greenhouses and use water from the Martian soil and nitrogen from the atmosphere to grow crops. The crew will cultivate rice, algae and insects for their high protein content and will also likely grow mushrooms, along with tomatoes and other plants. [The Boldest Mars Missions of All Time]

Tapping private industry

Solar rather than nuclear power will be used for the base, Lansdorp said, and all the landers may be larger versions of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

“We’ve discussed upscaling of Dragon capsule with SpaceX,” Lansdorp told the BIS audience.

In March, Mars One announced it had signed a contract with Paragon Space Development Corp. for a conceptual design study into life support and space suit systems.

Paragon has also been contracted by Dennis Tito for his Inspiration Mars project, which aims to launch two people on a Mars flyby mission in 2018 that will neither land on nor orbit the Red Planet. Lansdorp is slated to meet Tito in May in Washington, D.C.

As well as Paragon and SpaceX, Lansdorp is in discussions with Canada’s MDA Robotics for the rovers; Italy’s Thales Alenia Space for the MTV; ILC Dover, Astrobiotic and the U.K.’s Surrey Satellite Technology.

Lansdorp declined to answer questions about how much money Mars One has already raised, saying only that it's enough to start the selection process and to fund the Paragon contract. However, Mars One has named its first investors. Described as silver sponsors, they include Verkkokauppa.com, Finland’s second largest consumer electronics retailer, and Byte Internet, a Web hosting service.

This story was updated to reflect the fact that Mars One will accept video applications by July, not necessarily in July.
I could probably nominate some candidates....if not as members, maybe ballast?.... :)
Does the new Mars colony deserve our politicians so soon? Even as ballast?  ;D
I'd love to see the insanity on their recruiting boards.
Ummm.... If I join, do I have to go to Mars, or could I choose another planet. I think Jupiter would be so cool!

Would I get elite special forces training to fight the aliens? OR would I have to do time in the regular space infantry first?
cupper said:
Ummm.... If I join, do I have to go to Mars, or could I choose another planet. I think Jupiter would be so cool!

Would I get elite special forces training to fight the aliens? OR would I have to do time in the regular space infantry first?

Not the Infantry; everyone knows its the Colonial Marines
While I believe that private industry will have/has a place in space exploration, this has disaster written all over it.
Crantor said:
While I believe that private industry will have/has a place in space exploration, this has disaster written all over it.

But highly televised emotionally dramatic, technicolor disaster. Even if all the persons who attempt this die horrifically, Mars One will make a killing from the televised serial. Besides, guaranteed they will all sign waivers and such ensuring their families can't sue.

JesseWZ said:
But highly televised emotionally dramatic, technicolor disaster. Even if all the persons who attempt this die horrifically, Mars One will make a killing from the televised serial. Besides, guaranteed they will all sign waivers and such ensuring their families can't sue.

This has reality TV written all over it.
That's a lot more applicants that I would have expected for just two weeks...  ;D


78,000 Apply for Private Mars Colony Project In 2 Weeks

By Mike Wall | SPACE.com – 3 hours ago

Huge numbers of people on Earth are keen to leave the planet forever and seek a new life homesteading on Mars.

About 78,000 people have applied to become Red Planet colonists with the nonprofit organization Mars One since its application process opened on April 22, officials announced today (May 7). Mars One aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent colony, with more astronauts arriving every two years thereafter.

"With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history," Mars One CEO and co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. "These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants."

Mars One estimates that landing four settlers on Mars in 2023 will cost about $6 billion. The Netherlands-based organization plans to pay most of the bills by staging a global reality-TV event, with cameras documenting all phases of the mission from astronaut selection to the colonists' first years on the Red Planet.

The application process extends until Aug. 31.
Anyone at least 18 years of age can apply, by submitting to the Mars One website a 1-minute video explaining his or her motivation to become a Red Planet settler. (You can also watch other applicants' videos at the site.)

Mars One charges an application fee, which ranges from $5 to $75 depending on the wealth of the applicant's home country. United States citizens pay $38, Lansdorp said.

When the application process closes, reviewers will pick 50 to 100 candidates from each of the 300 regions around the world that Mars One has identified. By 2015, this pool will be whittled down to a total of 28 to 40 candidates, officials said.

As open-minded as I try to be, I can't say I have much faith in the physchological testing that I assume will be administered in order to help select candidates.  All I can think of is the plot to an obscene number of poorly-made Sci-Fi movies where one person goes crazy and offs everyone else.  But hey, if it gets ratings... :p
I hope this company works with NASA or this will be an utter failure. I say this because NASA has the robots already on the ground there kinda like doing a recce. If these guys go there without a recce chances are the outcome won't be good. Not to mention I would think they need way more studies on the mental effects of never coming back to earth and doing without a lot of things from earth. I'd want a feshly made cheeseburger more than anything after the first 2 years lol.
Looks like these are not the only people who want to go to Mars; Denis Tito is also working on a mission to do a Mars flyby in 2018. This is an interesting era, there are also two companies in the United States which (Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries) which are making serious plans to extract resources from near Earth asteroids...


Mars mission plan launched by US millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito
Former rocket scientist, who became the first private space tourist, wants to send two people on a round trip to Mars in 2018

Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian, Wednesday 27 February 2013 19.37 GMT

Dennis Tito announces the mission at a press conference on Wednesday Link to video: Mars mission to be funded by millionaire Dennis Tito
A US millionaire who became the first private space tourist has unveiled ambitious plans to send a man and woman – probably a married couple – on a round trip to Mars when planetary alignment allows in 2018.

Dennis Tito, 72, a former rocket scientist who made his fortune through investments, said his Mission for America aims to spur a new era of space exploration.

Tito, who became the first private space tourist when he paid the Russians $20m (£13m) for a ticket to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001, outlined his plans in Washington DC on Wednesday. He is not intending to fly himself.

Speculation over the details of the risky voyage has spread through the space community in recent weeks after the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a non-profit organisation formed by Tito, hinted at a Mars mission.

The trip will take advantage of the alignment of heavenly bodies in January 2018 to fly around Mars and return to Earth in the relatively short time of 501 days. The same opportunity will not arise again until 2031.

Tito said he would fund the mission until the end of 2014 and hoped to raise the rest of the money through donations from private investors and foundations, through media rights sales and potentially through selling scientific data to Nasa. "There is no time to lose," he said. "Now is the time."

Tito has put together a team with a pedigree, including Jonathan Clark, a former Nasa flight surgeon who is now an adviser at the National Space Medicine Biomedical Research Institute in Houston.

Keith Cowing, editor of the NasaWatch website, said: "Unlike the spate of space commerce companies that have flashed on and off the news in recent months, this effort has substantial cash behind it – at the onset. That fact alone moves this idea from giggle factor to the verge of credibility."

The mission, likely to launch on 5 January 2018, aims to take a man and woman from the US on a flyby to within 100 miles of the Martian surface, and return them safely to Earth. The planned trajectory is known as a "free return": once fired into space, the capsule will swing around Mars and come back to Earth regardless of what happens to its occupants.

"As a voyage of human discovery, this would be the most significant journey in the history of our species," said Anu Ojha, director of the UK National Space Academy. "Their feasibility study shows that this is possible and with pretty much off-the-shelf hardware. It is extremely uncomfortable but it is doable."

The feasibility study used a modified Dragon capsule from the private US space company, SpaceX, launched on one of the company's Falcon heavy rockets. In transit, the astronauts will have use of an "inflatable habitat module" that will detach before Earth atmosphere re-entry. The actual capsule the pair will travel in, excluding the inflatable addition, is likely to be "the size of a toilet", the authors said.

Continuing the lavatorial theme, they said they calculated the crew would need one toilet roll every three days.

The mission faces substantial hurdles. The human body adapts to space by losing muscle and bone, and astronauts need daily exercise on resistance machines to slow down the wasting. Finding room for those machines is crucial.

Then there is the radiation in space, which can damage organs and raise the risk of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

How the body and mind respond to deep space travel is essentially unknown, but the mission could provide much-needed information on how human physiology copes with the environment.

"The science return in terms of understanding Mars will be minimal, but the science return in terms of understanding human physiology will rewrite the textbooks," Ojha said.

Another major threat comes from huge bursts of radiation that spray from the sun during solar flares or "coronal mass ejections". The launch window coincides with a low in the cycling activity of the sun, but that only reduces the risk of a flare blasting the spacecraft. "If you get a coronal mass ejection, there is virtually nothing you can do about it," Ojha said. Nasa took the risk during the Apollo era, but those missions were days long instead of months.

Many experts say the mission will stand or fall on Tito's ability to raise funds. Tito said the cost would be similar to that of a mission to low Earth orbit – the realm of space occupied by the ISS – but did not give a full costing. But it is almost certain that he will not get rich from the mission.

He said: "Let me be clear, I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission but my grandchildren will come out a lot richer for the inspiration it will give them."
I wonder what the common man felt about those that left everything behind,to go to a new world and make their fortune ? While I wouldn't mind being a pioneer I don't like the odds of this mission.
tomahawk6 said:
I wonder what the common man felt about those that left everything behind,to go to a new world.

At least they had hope and faith that there was something over there in that new world.

Imagine those that will leave everything behind to go to a dead world.
Much of the urge to explore is about faith and hope. When Henry the Navigator dispatched ships from Portugal to sail around Africa in the 1400's, Europeans knew far less about that region of the world than we know about Mars. Indeed, some of the common suppositions, like the sun was so hot in the tropics that it would prevent human or other life were absolutly terrifying to the sailors (and the fact that the Atlantic coast of Africa is very deficient in places to make landfall didn't help either). Yet the hope that there was a way around Africa to reach the spice islands (and incidentally bypass the Ottoman Turks and the Venetians to gain access to the spices) continued to reive them to brave the oceans in tiny ships.

One element of faith in the desire to reach Mars is that Mars had life at one point in its history. Another element of faith is that Mars is habitable by humans, either tody through some heavy duty engineering, or in the far future through a process called "Terraforming". Among some elements of the space commuity this is almost a religion. One such group is actually camping in the Canadian high arctic practicing the skills that will be useful in exploring Mars.

So there will be a small but very determined group of people who will want to go to Mars, and who do not think of Mars or the Solar System as dead at all.
When they solve the oxygen problem I am good to go. :camo:
All I can think of is the plot to an obscene number of poorly-made Sci-Fi movies where one person goes crazy and offs everyone else

Exactly this.  They want to make it into a reality TV show?  I'd like to see how long the cast of jersey shore could live in a small metal tube without alcohol before someone pops the airlock door.

A reality show about highly motivated, high acheivers? Say it ain't so....