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Mars Expedition Has Trouble Staying In Orbit

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.

5 thoughts on “Mars Expedition Has Trouble Staying In Orbit”

  1. Bill says:

    I’m trying to look at Mars One from a ‘follow the money’ perspective (since I can’t think of any other perspective that even begins to make sense), but alas I missed the details of the first ‘astronaut’ application program (which supposedly received 200,000 applications). Does anyone know if there was an application fee required? And if so, how much?

    Yeah, yeah, I know, Mars One is a non-profit organization, but an enterprising huckster can still get rich off a non-profit (ask any university president, team coach, or medical school dean). Worth noting in this regard that a wholly owned subsidiary of Mars One, Interplanetary Media Group, is a for-profit that intends to sell shares and advertising, and “Mars One intends to fund this decade-long endeavor by involving the whole world as the audience of an interactive, televised broadcast of every aspect of this mission, from the astronaut selections and their preparations to the arrival on Mars and their lives on the Red Planet” — i.e., the biggest ‘reality show’ pitch of all time. So basically, I guess, these folks are would-be television producers who will play at “Who Wants To Go To Mars?” for a while and see how much money they can make. Not a bad racket. I wonder if they can get The Donald to emcee? I’d certainly watch, provided he promises to be on the first ship out.

  2. AnAverageJoe says:

    Even though this is just some attempt for super-rich people to get media attention, and I doubt it will go anywhere, I would sign up if it ever gets a chance of getting off the ground and I ever got the chance to do so.

    1. AnAverageJoe says:

      I should add that there’s an irony for a rich capitalist talking about exploring Mars, when capitalism is the greatest barrier to his space fantasies:

    2. Bill says:

      I don’t get the sense that the Mars One executive team is “rich.” Looks to me like a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings from the Netherlands, with some modest professional credentials in marketing, media, and engineering. “Rich” is their goal, I think, not their starting point. It’s just a media play.

      1. Bill says:

        The 21st Century equivalent of L. Ron Hubbard. Take a pretty good science fiction plot and morph it into a revenue stream at the expense of the gullible.

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