Wednesday, March 25, 2015

At this point, the only things Mars One is likely to get into orbit are the wheels coming off of the bus

More background on the Mars One story.

From CTV News:
The Dutch non-profit group behind the project recently announced that it was pushing back the planned launch to 2027, due to a lack of funds for a robotic mission that was scheduled to precede the first human launch. The aim of the robotic mission is to test out the technologies required for human survival on Mars.

From NBC:

The Dutch-based Mars One venture is closing in on choosing its crews for one-way trips to the Red Planet, but will they be all dressed up in spacesuits with no place to go? Over the past week, there's been a string of reports that highlight the huge challenges facing Mars One.

Space News reports that the project's leaders haven't followed up on concept studies for robotic missions aimed at sending a lander and an orbiter to Mars in 2018. The Daily Mail says Mars One's deal with Endemol's global TV production team has fizzled out. Meanwhile, the Guardian quotes one of Mars One's initial supporters, astronomer Gerard 't Hooft, as saying the mission "will take quite a bit longer and be quite a bit more expensive" than advertised.

And (better late than never) from NPR:
Still, a Dutch venture called Mars One has captured the public's imagination with its plan to colonize Mars by 2025. Bas Lansdorp, the group's CEO, says they've been featured in major media outlets like CNN and the New York Times. "We've been on NPR — I think twice already," Lansdorp says.

"For some reason that I really cannot explain, I wanted to go to Mars and build a new human settlement there," he says.

Lansdorp believes the voyage will likely pay for itself because it will be a media spectacle. Everyone in the world will want to watch the whole adventure, he says. Mars One is planning a reality TV show with sponsorships and advertising.

"We expect it's worth up to 10 Olympic Games' [worth] of media revenue, which is $45 billion," says Lansdorp.

Of course, sponsors of the Olympics can be pretty confident that their games will happen. When asked how he responds to skeptics who say that Mars One is basically just a website and a marketing plan, Lansdorp says, "I think that the people who say that really haven't paid attention to what we've achieved already."
Lots of people applied to be part of the Mars One astronaut corps — paying a fee to do so. And the group has commissioned a couple of studies from established aerospace companies.

The Mars One plan calls for first sending out a small robotic lander in 2018. Lansdorp says he can do this more cheaply than NASA. But missions like that typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars. When told that it didn't sound like he'd raised anything like that amount of money, Lansdorp replied that "we don't need that kind of money yet because we're not yet building the actual lander. But these are the kinds of investments that we're currently in negotiation for."

How much has he raised? He won't say.

1 comment:

  1. "Captured the public's imagination," huh? As if media hype had nothing to do with it.