What is next for Mars One?
Currently, Mars One is working with its aerospace suppliers to discuss and close contracts for conceptual design studies of all major components needed for the mission. In the next few months, the first round of the selection process will close and candidates for Round 2 will be chosen. Additionally, negotiations with potential new partners are ongoing.

What inspired you to start Mars One?
Bas Lansdorp, CEO and cofounder of Mars One: “Looking at images of the Mars surface by the Sojourner rover in 1997 as a young student made me want to go to Mars myself. As I explored the idea in the years that followed in my spare time with friends and colleagues, each piece of the puzzle seemed to fall in place. When I solved the last piece of the puzzle, I sold part of my shares in my previous company to finance the start-up of Mars One and started working full time on the plan in March 2011.”

What is Mars One’s long-term plan?
Mars One’s vision is that at some point in the future, the colony will be large and equipped enough to self-sustain. We realize that this can be achieved only by decades of effort and patience on both planets.
Mars One will establish a settlement of four people on Mars to start with. From then on, our focus will be to expand the colony by sending 4 people every two years and nurturing the growing colony.
Mars One is not the only company working towards establishing a human settlement on Mars. We hope to collaborate with several initiatives, private and public that will play their roles in bringing humanity to a new planet.

Is the technology available?
The technology needed to send humans to Mars and keep a growing colony alive and thriving already exists. We have made a technical plan with the best people in the industry– one of our founders and CTO is a payload manager with the European Space Agency and our advisory board boasts of some of the brightest minds. The draft technical plan was discussed and refined with companies that can supply every component needed. No new inventions are required to colonize Mars.

How much will the mission cost?
We are estimating the cost of 6 billion USD to put the first crew on Mars and sustain this small colony. This figure was derived after discussions with at least one aerospace supplier of each component that together make the Mars One technical plan.

How do you plan to produce water, oxygen and food?
The settlers will not carry the water and oxygen they will need on Mars. Water can be extracted from the ice in Martian soil, which will be fed to the life support system to make drinking water and oxygen (produced from electrolysis of extracted water) available inside the habitat. The life support system will also extract nitrogen existing in the Martian atmosphere to make breathable air available inside the habitat. We have already contracted an American company who has started work on the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Mars Surface Exploration Suits. There will be emergency food rations waiting for the first crew when they land, but the main source will be their own farming efforts on Mars, inside the habitat. To read more please see FAQ on food, air and water

How will Mars One handle the risks?
A human mission to Mars will always be risky. The risk will be reduced to acceptable levels by employing proven technology available from the best aerospace companies, which has been tested for many years here on Earth. The crew will be trained for many years with the equipment. Further safety comes from high levels of redundancy. For example the first crew will have four life support systems available on Mars, each of which can support the entire crew.

What is Mars One’s relationship with the space agencies?
Mars One is very interested in cooperating with various space agencies in the coming years. Many of our advisers hold or have held important positions at space agencies. Most of our suppliers have developed and operated components for NASA, ESA and the International Space Station missions. Future cooperation could include sharing of hardware resources, collaborating in answering scientific questions or taking a payload of one of the space agencies on one of our missions.

Why settle on Mars permanently; isn’t there a way back?

There is no way to go back; going to Mars is a decision that you make for the rest of your life. The technology for a return mission does not exist.

Even if a return mission were available, it would be uneconomical, dangerous and unnecessary. There are true pioneers among us today who have the sense of purpose to lead the way in expanding human presence in the galaxy.

Humans have always moved from a place to another without the intention of returning. This need to expand into the horizon is ingrained within humanity and is the reason behind the success of our species.

Unlike the early explorers and migrants in the early 20th century, Mars settlers will be able to talk to anyone from their previous home and access any digital material sent to them with a 20 minute delay.

Migrating to a different continent or a different planet is not for everyone. Finding the right individuals is the first task we have taken up. In each selection round of the Astronaut Selection Program, experts will exclude individuals that are further away from the criteria and systematically zero in on candidates closest to it.

What motivates the applicants, in your point of view?
The drive to explore and discover is a natural human attribute. Humans have always explored and settled on far-off lands. Our desire to spread out seeking new, more exciting opportunities for future generations is the reason behind the success of our species. While not everyone on Earth shares the wish to be an explorer, everyone on earth shares these intrinsic human values of progress and continuation. Read more about why we should go to Mars here.

Why did you choose Mars and not another planet?
After the Earth, Mars is the most habitable planet in our solar system. Its soil contains water and the temperature on its surface is manageable. There is enough sunlight to use solar panels and its gravity is 38% that of our Earth’s, which is sufficient for the human body to adapt to in good time. It has an atmosphere, albeit a thin one, offering some shielding from radiation from the cosmos. Mars’s day/night rhythm is 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds, comparable to that of Earth– an important parameter dictating the biological clock. The only other celestial bodies close enough from Earth are our Moon and Venus. There are far fewer resources on the Moon than Mars and one Moon day lasts a whole Earth month. It also does not have an atmosphere to form a barrier against radiation or small meteoroids. Venus, among other things, is too hot at 400 degrees centigrade.

What will the astronauts do on Mars?
The settlers will spend their time exploring the Martian surface, doing experiments, construction work and farming. This will be in addition to regular system operations including health and fitness evaluations, monitoring of all systems parameters and conferences with mission control.

Why not choose experienced astronauts?
Astronauts, as we have known them from the space-faring missions until now, are often pilots, medical doctors, science payload experts or engineers. For a crew that will permanently settle on Mars, the most important skill is their ability to function in a group. The best individuals fulfilling such criteria can be found in all backgrounds. Of course they need to be healthy and smart. Mars One will train the astronauts for seven years: long enough to learn to solve any medical and mechanical problems and to grow their own food.

Does the audience have a say in the selection of Mars inhabitants?
The selected crew will be heroes for generations to come as envoys of all humanity. For this reason, Mars One feels the need to share the decision of selecting the individuals with everyone. Having said that, at no point in the selection process will the wider public choose someone who the Mars One selection committee determines unfit for the mission. The expert panel in the committee will exclude anyone who is not qualified, only after which the public will choose their representatives to Mars.

What would it mean to humanity if Mars One were successful in setting up a colony on Mars?
It will truly change the outlook of our entire species. If humanity can colonize Mars, is there anything that we can not do? We believe that the international approach of Mars One will bring the people of this planet a little closer together. The Mars One mission will demonstrate how a diverse team of people from different backgrounds and countries can train for and then go on a challenging mission together. This endeavor will increase awareness of the similarities in any two people and with that will come respect for who we are. And if on Mars we do find some form of life– that would change our entire perspective on the universe.