MARS ONE ANNOUNCES LOCKHEED MARTIN PARTNERSHIP, CROWDFUNDING FOR 2018 MARS MISSION
Mars One kicked up a little Martian dust in 2013.
First, the private organization announced they would colonize the Red Planet by 2023 and fund the mission, in part, by making a television show about their space adventures. Then they took some 200,000 applications from would-be astronauts (with no required qualifications) for a one-way ticket to Mars.
If you’re disappointed that human beings haven’t flown beyond the Moon—then all this bold Mars talk is inspiring. But talk is cheap. Now, comes the costly part.
Mars One needs to figure out how to build permanent Mars habitats. They need to send these habitats to Mars and assemble them with largely autonomous robots. And finally, they need to shuttle men and women to the Red Planet.
All this is to be achieved in a little over a decade by an organization with no launches or space flights to its name. The project has its skeptics.
It’s therefore significant that Mars One recently announced Lockheed Martin is working on a mission concept study for a 2018 Mars lander based on their 2007 Phoenix lander.
Lockheed has decades of Mars experience. Martin Marietta built the two landers for the 1976 Viking mission to Mars, and since then, Lockheed Martin has assembled and launched a succession of Mars orbiters and landers.
Mars One also contracted aerospace firm, SSTL, to develop a mission concept study for a Mars orbiter that will act as relay station between Earth and the lander.
The two studies will cost $250,000 and $80,000 respectively. Together, the lander and satellite will demonstrate technologies for later missions. But to be clear, neither firm has yet been contracted to build anything. That will take significantly more cash.
To get the funding ball rolling, Mars One also recently launched a $400,000 Indiegogo campaign. Mars One says they hope the campaign will “show [their] partners and sponsors that the world is ready for this to happen.”