This Spring, we noted the beginning of the Mars One project – a mission to begin a human colony on Mars within 10 years. The Mars One plan was ambitious – to have an initial robotic scout land on Mars to conduct tests of water extraction and solar power just three years from now, in 2016.
Mars One quickly began taking applicants for its one-way trip to the red planet. Large numbers of people signed up. They might want to think again, and consider recent news from Mars One leaders, before committing to the journey.
Mars One has announced that the robot scout will be delayed by two years, until 2018. While there’s no harm done with this particular delay, it is a reminder that, when it comes to space exploration, theoretical timelines are subject to frequent changes – usually slowing things down.
Part of the Mars One plan is to keep colonists alive by sending them regular packages of supplies to supplement their own colony-based projects to create and maintain supplies of water, air and food. What happens if one of those resupply missions is delayed by two years?
Everyone on the colony dies, and they rename the project Mars None.