What do you think of Mars One

Steve Schild Mars One and Swiss Men's Award candidate

Let's say someone tells you, "We plan to establish a permanent human colony on Mars." You laugh for a while but your opposite remains serious. You will surely ask:

  • How is that supposed to be possible?
  • Are the astronauts coming back?
  • How are astronauts prepared for life on Mars?
  • What will the trip to Mars look like?
  • What will everyday life on Mars look like?

How is that supposed to be possible?

To find out more about the technical details, please read the Technology and Technical Feasibility pages.

Moving to Mars

A one-way trip to Mars has obvious technical advantages, but what does it all mean for the astronauts? It depends on who you ask. You might think that most people would rather let their legs go away than spend the rest of their lives in a cold, hostile and secluded environment with no family and friends who can only be seen with video messages that have a seven minute delay. At least, and only in one direction!

However, there are also those for whom the dream of their life is to step on Mars. You love the challenge. Just like the ancient Chinese, Micronesians, countless Africans, the Vikings and the famous explorers of ancient Europe who left everything behind to spend the rest of their lives on the sea. A one-way trip to Mars means for these people to discover a new world, to carry out the greatest scientific mission ever devised - to build a new home for humanity on a strange planet.

Mars One enables anyone who has the same dreams as the ancient explorers to apply for a place in a Mars One mission. Are you one of those people for whom this is a dream?

Years of training

Before leaving the Earth's atmosphere to travel to Mars, every astronaut will have to go through the necessary eight years of training. They are isolated from the world, several months a year, every two years, in groups of four in simulated outposts to learn how they react to being cut off in the narrow station from the rest of humanity, apart from the other three. In addition to the experience and professional competence that you should already have, you must acquire a few additional skills: making technical and electrical repairs at the station, growing crops in a restricted environment and providing both routine medical care and medical emergency care, for example the dental check-up, to treat muscle strains or broken bones.

The trip to Mars

The flight will take between seven and eight months, depending on the planetary constellation between Earth and Mars. The astronauts will spend these months together in a very small room - much smaller than the Mars station they will later inhabit and without any luxury or extras. That will not be easy. There will be no possibility to shower with water. Instead, the astronauts will do this with a damp cloth, like the astronauts on the International Space Station.

Frozen dried and packaged food is the only option. There will be constant noises from the fans, life support systems, and computers, and three hours of daily exercise to reduce muscle wasting. If the astronauts are hit by a solar storm, they have to seek refuge in the much smaller and best radiation-protected part of the transit ship for up to seven days.

The journey will be exhausting and everyone will come to their physical and mental limits. But the astronauts will endure this because this journey leads them to their dream.

Life on mars

Once on Mars, the astronauts will begin to settle in their relatively spacious quarters. About 50m² per person and a total of 200m² interior space.

Inside the colony there are inflatable components which house bedrooms, work rooms, a living room and a room for growing plants. They will be able to shower normally again, will be able to prepare their self-planted food in a kitchen, wear ordinary clothes, and will essentially lead a typical day-to-day life.

If the astronauts want to leave the station, they have to wear a Martian suit. On the other hand, all living rooms are connected to each other with corridors so that it is possible to simply walk from one end of the station to the other. Since most of the rough construction is done by a rover before the astronauts arrive, it won't be long before a day-to-day routine for doing research and important work is established.

Construction and research

Several new components will arrive shortly with the first astronauts on Mars. In preparation for the arrival of the second group of four astronauts, these components will include additional housing units and additional life support systems. With the help of the rover, the astronauts will add these components to the station. When this task is done, the first crew has prepared the arrival of the second crew and in the meantime will be able to use the additional space themselves and benefit from the extended life support systems as additional security.

By the time the second crew arrives, the first crew has already done the technical and physical work on the station with existing materials. Mars One is working on concepts that involve creating tunnels or domes out of compressed Martian rock that could possibly hold a breathable atmosphere.

A large amount of research opportunities will arise. The astronauts will observe how their bodies react and adapt when they live permanently at 38% of Earth's gravity and how food crops and other plants grow in this environment in hydroponic gardens. The research will also include exploring other settlements and thus learning a lot about the geology of Mars. And of course a lot of research will be related to whether there was once or even still life of any kind on Mars.

Reporting from Mars

The astronauts will not only deliver their regular routine reports but also report what they enjoy and what challenges them. This will give people on Earth a unique and personal insight into life on Mars. They can answer fascinating questions such as: What is it like to walk on Mars? What do you think of the other astronauts after a year? What does it mean to live with the reduced gravity of Mars? What is your favorite food? Do you enjoy the sunsets on Mars?

Future expansion

A new group of four astronauts will land on Mars every other year, making the colony grow permanently. Perhaps a larger living space will be built from locally available materials, perhaps even large enough to plant trees. The more astronauts arrive, the more creativity can be used to expand the colony, possibly creating concepts that we cannot predict now. But we can trust the human stamina and the spirit of discovery with which these challenges are mastered.

Source: Mars One project page