Mars One — a not-for-profit foundation established to plant a permanent human settlement on Mars — has secured lead suppliers for its first mission to Mars.
The mission, slated for a 2018 launch, will include a robotic lander and a communications satellite.
Mars One has contracted Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) to develop mission concept studies. The Mars lander will be built by Lockheed Martin and the communications satellite will be built by SSTL.
The 2018 mission is being tagged a demonstration mission to provide proof-of-concept for some of the technologies that are important for a permanent human settlement on Mars.
The Lockheed Martin lander will be based on the successful 2007 NASA Phoenix mission spacecraft and will demonstrate some of the technologies required for a human mission. Lockheed Martin designed, built, tested and operated the lander for NASA.
The lander will have the ability to scoop up Martian soil with a robotic arm similar to the Phoenix mission.
A water experiment will extract water from the Martian soil.
A power experiment will demonstrate the deployment and operation of thin-film solar panels on the surface, and a camera on the lander will be used to make continuous video recordings.
SSTL’s satellite will provide a high bandwidth communications system in a Mars synchronous orbit and will be used to relay data and a live video feed from the lander on the surface of Mars back to Earth.
Mars One’s mission will not be financed by government-funded organizations. Instead, means of funding the mission include sponsorships and exclusive partnerships.
Mars One is also launching an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that enables people to participate in this mission to Mars.
In a press statement issued today, Bas Lansdorp, Mars One Co-founder and CEO stated:
“Landing the first humans on Mars should be everyone’s mission and not just the mission of one country or organization.” He said that the 2018 mission will change the way people view space exploration as they will have the opportunity to participate. “They will not only be spectators, but also participants.”
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By Leonard David
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