Mars Settlement Planned For 2023

Lee Rannals for

To some, man setting foot on Mars may seem like a pipe dream, but to one Dutch group, it´s a business idea.

A Dutch group, led by Bas Lansdorp, has announced plans to set up a small Mars settlement by 2023. Lansdorp is a researcher from the Netherlands with a Masters in Science from Delft University of Technology.

Mars One has a plan to send a communications satellite to the Red Planet by 2016, and then set up several stages of other flights until landing man on Mars for a permanent settlement in 2023.

“Mars One will establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023,” the group said in a statement on its website. “A habitable settlement will be waiting for the settlers when they land.”

The group said that every two years after 2023, a new crew will arrive on the Red Planet to replace the one that would be living there.

It said that for every component of the mission, they have identified at least one potential supplier for parts and equipment.

The suppliers for Mars One includes ILC Dover, MDA Corporation, Paragon Space Development, SpaceX, Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL), and Thales Alenia Space.

“SSTL believes that the commercialization of space exploration is vital in order to bring down the costs and schedules. Mars-One is an imaginative venture making use of existing technology and SSTL is highly motivated to support this initiative,” Sir Martin Sweeting, Founder and Executive Chairman of SSTL, said in a statement.

Jane Poynter, President and Chairwoman at Paragon Space Development Corporation, said that Mars One will execute the first fully commercial campaign of human exploration and development of Mars.

“I believe that the endeavor holds great promise and Paragon is prepared to manufacture and integrate the Mars One life support, thermal control, and space suit systems,” Poynter said in a statement.

Mars One said that the cost of putting the first four people on Mars will be at about $6 billion, which includes a ride aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launcher in the future.

The group said the astronauts on Mars will be building their environment and answering questions about whether there is life on Mars and the history of the neighboring planet.

It also said that the biggest hurdle to cross in the mission is acquiring funding, and once that is done then the mission is on.

Astronaut selections for the first manned Mars mission will begin in 2013.  Mars One said they will be choosing a total of 40 astronauts.