Mars One: Your One-Way Ticket to the Red Planet!
There is a private company, Mars One, that wants you for their first ever human colony to live and prosper on Mars. So far, over 200,000 have applied for the first four spots on a team of 24. The Dutch company has had all sorts of applications from across the globe. The first cut of 1000 has a local Santa Rosan in it, which just proves, who they select is wide open.
Mars One will provide a one-way ticket to the planet to be pioneers creating the first human colony of four. The final 24 will be culled from thousands over the next two years. Once selected for the final 24, each will undergo eight years of astronaut training. The best four of the 24 will be the first to lift off. The whole adventure is expected to cost the Dutch company $6 billion to send the four colonists. Selections over the next two years will put applicants through a series of team settings, rigorous simulations, physical and emotional tests.
To obtain funding, the company is hoping to get multi-million TV contract as the process moves from stage to stage. The application fee is $20 and applicants need to write an essay and provide a video. Those selected undergo a tough physical before going onto other stages of rounds of interviews.
Just traveling to Mars is difficult: The flight will take between seven to eight months. The astronauts will spend those seven months together in a very small space. Showering with water is not an option. Instead, the traveller will shower with wet towelettes (wet wipes). Meals are freeze dried and canned. There will be constant noise from the ventilators, computer and life support systems, and three hours daily exercise in order to maintain muscle mass.
But when? When will the first colony take off from Earth? Mars One plans to send the first colony in 2024 for the 210 day trip. In 2022, a rover and supply capsules will be sent. The first colony will live in an apartment size capsule and obtain water from ice found under the surface and will extract oxygen from the water. For food, they will grow plants in greenhouses. Once established, every two years, another four colonists from the 24 will make the one-way trip.
NASA already has a rover exploring the planet with some amazing finds and photos, but it has nothing to do with Mars One. The rover communicates with Earth daily and there is a 20-minute delay in the signal due to the distance. But are their projected costs realistic, for example, the Mars One website claims that they can pull the whole thing off for measly US $6 Billion. The Curiosity rover mission cost $2.5 Billion. The International Space Station cost $150 Billion. The Apollo Program, when converted to 2005 dollars, cost $170 Billion.
There are other enterprises trying to get to Mars. Inspiration Mars is another private company trying to send a married couple there and back in 2018