Mars One

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Mars One is a non-profit organisation that plans to send 100 people to Mars. Or not.

The plan[edit]

Mars One claims to be sending humans to Mars… permanently…[1] if they ever get out of bankruptcy.[2] They will also for some reason have a reality show.[3] How this helps scientific research or living on Mars is beyond comprehension.

Mars One plans to send a rover and a communications satellite to Mars within the next 10 years.[1] After that they will send their cargo, and finally will send people. Who will set up the Mars base, and how it will be set up, is left to the imagination.

Problems[edit]

Money[edit]

Mars One states that their estimated budget will be about 6 billion USD, which sounds like a lot but that is an issue for two reason. First a NASA panel went over the lowest possible cost for a Mars mission, and they came up with 80 billion USD to 100 billion USD, this renders Mars One's estimate a bit too optimistic.[4] A second folly of Mars One is that they have massive funding problems. In 2014 Mars One started an Indiegogo campaign, with a goal of $400,000. It failed, and in all they only have just a bit over 700,000 USD, which is not even close to their very liberal estimate of 6 billion.[4]

Time frame[edit]

Mars One originally planned to send a manned mission in 2024, though this was later delayed to 2026 and most recently to 2031. NASA's current goals (as of 2017) are to launch a manned mission in 2033, and NASA's budget is 20 billion a year, not 700,000 dollars.[5] Also an MIT study concluded that all of the inhabitants would die within 68 days of landing due to the life support system being unable to balance the oxygen levels.[4] Dying in 68 days would probably be a good thing because living longer would mean brain damage and/or cancer due to high levels of radiation exposure from the voyage and from life on Mars.[6] Health care on Mars is not expected to be very good.

Reality show video feed[edit]

Reliably sending video for a reality show back to Earth is not easy. A high-gain antenna array might be able to deliver a high enough signal/noise ratio (SNR) for video bandwidth needs, but the difficulty of accurate beam pointing could reduce reliability. Using antennae with low gain could avoid the aiming problem, at the cost of reduced SNR, which would reduce the effective bandwidth. (Think in terms of a Skype connection over a very long, dodgy telephone line.)[7]

Everything else[edit]

Not only is Martian healthcare thought not to be very good, if something breaks down there and cannot be fixed with whatever they've at hand, the spare parts are at the very best at 55 million kilometers and at the very worst at 400 million kilometers away,[8] which may mean trouble if what broke down was a vital system (life support, etc.) unless they wanted a (real) Snuff film about the horrible deaths of colonists in an alien planet.[note 1]

Scam?[edit]

NASA researcher Joseph Roche has claimed that the whole thing is a scam. He claims that applicants get through the rounds of selection by gaining "points" by purchasing merchandise and donating to the organization, not by fitness for space travel. Multiple "finalists" have agreed that selection was based on donations given, not actual ability to go to space.[9]

Another bad sign that might shed some light on this is that they have lost their recording contract with the company that was going to produce their reality show, which shows one of two things:

  1. Reality producers have figured out Mars is boring, and it's kind of hard to fake drama when you're millions of miles from your cast, or
  2. Mars One is a scam and won't actually go to Mars.

Notes[edit]

  1. And, of course, if one or several of the colonists turn out to be nasty people you can't simply fire them as on Earth… unless you want to film their deaths by exposure to the harsh Martian conditions.

References[edit]