Sunday, 14 September 2014

Space Sunday - How To Get To Mars

As a matter of fact ... 

You can now go to Mars. Well, not right now, but soon. It's no longer science fiction people. The 'Mars One' program that began selecting potential candidates last year has set its aim on having humans on the red planet by 2024. That's just 10 years away. Isn't that mental? 

The first unmanned mission is set to launch as early as 2018! If, like me, this has all come as a bit of a surprise then there is plenty of information at hand on their website. If, unlike me, you are brave enough to sign up for the trip, there's still a chance for you ...

The program started its applicant search in New York and Shanghai, April 2013. Since then, it has attracted over 200,00 applicants. 

This overwhelming surge of interest in just over a year has forced them to close the application process for the time being. Fear not though! With a planned trip to Mars every 2 years after the first launch, there will be plenty of space once the ball gets rolling. 

If you want to be a part of this piece of history, it's not just a case of stepping on board. The Mars One mission have their own road map to Mars which outlines step by step what a successful applicant will have to witness and go through:

  • In 2015, the crew will begin training. This will continue all the way up to the launch in 2024, a full 9 years later.
  • In 2018, an unmanned satellite will be sent to Mars to test some of the technology that will be used for the manned mission.
  • In 2020, a rover will be sent. It will search for the best spot for a settlement. North enough to obtain water, south enough for maximum solar energy and flat enough to build on.
  • In 2023, the cargo arrives. These are the huge pods that the astronauts will live in and work in. They will include two Living Units, two Life Support Systems, and two Supply Units. The rover will assemble the outpost. 
  • In 2024, the first manned mission is launched. Once their course is set, it is a point of no return.
  • In 2025, the first crew arrive. Soon after, they recieve more cargo to expand the settlement. Resulting in an an enviroment that is able to support up to 16 astronauts. 
  • In 2026, the second crew arrive. Soon after, more cargo arrives for the 3rd crew. This begins a process that will repeat every two years; growing the colony in both size and population.

A few years ago, if someone said they were going to Mars, the immediate reaction would have been 'Oh yeah? How?' Well, this is how. These guys have a plan, funding and ambition.

Who knows if they will meet any problems along the way but one thing is for sure; we wont have to wait long to see how this thing goes down. As you can see from the timeline above, the future is now. 

UPDATE: The mission has now narrowed down its potential applicants to just 705 people. One of those people has favourited this post on twitter. So, obviously you should too. 

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