Mars One Presents Initial Design of Mars Habitat
The controversial Mars One foundation claims that it will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars on the cheap, integrating core technologies that are readily available from industry today. Mars One is persuaded that the mission will captivate and inspire this generation and generations to come, and public interest will help finance Mars One.
When Mars One was first announced back in 2012, many people (this writer included) suspected that the project was meant as a scam from day one, the real business plan being to grab some cash and go. The initial plan was to fund the mission by making it a 24/7 reality TV show inspired by Big Brother. We would watch every little and perhaps sordid detail of the colonists’ lives in the “biggest media spectacle in history.”
Colonists for the Biggest Media Spectacle on Mars
The idea to fund space exploration with a reality show is deliciously irreverent, and fun. The Mars One team understood that space narratives can only capture public enthusiasm if they are stories of people – the core idea is that space must move from the “serious” press that nobody reads to the gossip press that everyone reads. Though the project is still suspected to be a scam, that core idea is good.
When the negotiations with Big Brother producer Endemol stalled earlier this year, Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One, said that while there would be footage of the colonists’ life on Mars, we wouldn’t watch them live, including their deaths. “It’s not going to be Big Brother on Mars. Just like the Olympics, we watch highlights, we don’t watch things that athletes do when they’re not performing their abilities,” he said.
It’s going to be the most exciting story of all time.
The bit about death underlines a very controversial feature of the project: the colonists will stay on Mars. They will never come back to Earth. Despite that, thousands of people worldwide have paid to submit their applications. About a hundred candidates have been selected to compete in the final selection process.
Now, Mars One has presented the initial conceptual design of the Surface Habitat Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) developed by Paragon Space Development Corporation for the colonists’ permanent home on Mars.
The ECLSS has been designed with specific focus on simplicity, redundancy, reliability, and maintainability. The conceptual design has identified an architecture with local resources supplying most of the consumable needs of the Mars One outpost. The ECLSS will provide air and water within the habitat, produced using local Martian resources. This process is vital to the long term goal of self-sufficiency for humans on Mars, says the announcement. Another post discloses more technical details and states that Mars One will make use of this study to update its mission of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars.
According to current plans, after preliminary robotic missions, the first Mars One crew of four colonists is scheduled to take off in 2026 and land in 2027.
Images from Mars One and Wikimedia Commons.