Gerard LeBlond for www.redorbit.com – Your Universe Online
Mars One is inviting universities, researchers and companies to contribute payloads for the 2018 unmanned Mars Lander mission. A panel of experts will determine the best ideas to accompany the Lander that will set the stage for a manned mission to Mars in 2025.
The four proposals requested will demonstrate technologies for the 2025 mission. One payload will be from a worldwide university competition and two will be for sale to the highest bidder representing scientific experiments, marketing techniques, or any other payload of value to the mission.
“We are opening our doors to the scientific community in order to source the best ideas from around the world. The ideas that are adopted will not only be used on the lander in 2018, but will quite possibly provide the foundation for the first human colony on Mars. For anyone motivated by human exploration, there can be no greater honor than contributing to a manned mission to Mars,” said Arno Wielders, co-founder and chief technical officer of Mars One.
The August 2018 unmanned mission will carry the selected payloads on Mars One to the Red Planet. Lockheed Martin, who built the 2007 NASA Phoenix spacecraft, has been contracted to develop the mission study concept for the 2018 Mars lander.
The four payloads will consist of the following:
A demonstration payload that includes four experiments demonstrating some of the technologies important for human survival and a permanent settlement on Mars.
Included in the payload will be a soil acquisition experiment to collect soil for water production; a water extraction experiment for removing water from the soil on Mars; a solar panel to demonstrate how the settlement will generate energy using only sunlight; and a camera system that will use a Mars-synchronous communication satellite to stream in real time, live video back to Earth.
The university payload competition will consist of one payload selected from worldwide entries submitted by universities. The submission can include scientific experiments, technology demonstrations or any other idea pertaining to a settlement on Mars. The Mars One community members will be the judges in selecting the winning competition entry from the universities. Notice of intent for submissions can be placed on the Mars One university competition website.
“The brightest young minds of our planet are being invited to participate in Mars One’s first Mars lander. This is an opportunity for university teams to launch an experiment not just to space, but to the surface of Mars. We do this to inspire students to believe that anything is possible. We’re not only looking for scientific proposals but also for outreach or educational ones. Mars One’s community will determine which payload flies to Mars in an online vote,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One.
In addition to the two competition payloads, two other payloads will be for sale to the highest bidder. These can come as scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, marketing strategies, publicity campaigns or any other worthy suggestions.
“Previously, the only payloads that have landed on Mars are those which NASA has selected. We want to open up the opportunity to the entire world to participate in our mission to Mars by sending a certain payload to the surface of Mars,” Lansdrop added.
The time frame for submission is on a tight schedule because of the 2018 launch. This gives the participants a very stringent time frame to submit their ideas and if chosen, develop a payload for launch. The payload ideas will be evaluated by Mars One and Lockheed Martin, but will also request expert insight in the selections to ensure that fitting payloads are selected.
The 2025 manned mission to Mars to establish a human colony originally picked 1058 individuals from a list of 200,000 candidates; as of May 5, 2014, the field of participants shrank to 705. The remaining applicants will be interviewed by a Mars One committee to pick the final colonists.
The next elimination phase will be based on the applicants “knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality,” according to Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s chief medical officer.
The candidates will now be placed in teams of four consisting of two men and two woman. They will be put through vigorous training to prepare for the voyage. However, individuals as well as a whole team could still be eliminated if they show they are not up to the task, according to the Mars One team.