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article imageNeeds volunteers: Would you like going to Mars and never return?

By Eko Armunanto     Apr 24, 2013 in Technology
“Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. We invite you to participate by sharing our vision with your friends, and, perhaps, by becoming the next Mars astronaut yourself,” the Dutch company says in its website.
It describes Mars One as a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars through the integration of existing, readily available technologies from industry leaders world-wide. Mars One intends to fund this decade-long endeavor by involving the whole world as the audience of an interactive, televised broadcast of every aspect of this mission, from the astronaut selections and their preparations to the arrival on Mars and their lives on the Red Planet.
Mars One began looking Monday for volunteer astronauts to fly to Mars. Departure for the Red Planet is scheduled for 2022, landing seven months later in 2023. When will the space travelers return? Never! They will finish out their lives on Mars, representatives from the nonprofit said to CNN. "It's likely that there will be a crematorium," said CEO Bas Lansdorp. "It's up to the people on Mars to decide what to do with their dead."
Why not return? The technology for a return flight doesn't exist, says Mars One. While it is possible that, within the lifetime of the early settlers on Mars, there will be opportunity to bring one or more back to Earth, it cannot be anticipated nor expected. To return a human to Earth, a fully assembled and fueled launch vehicle (rocket) must be available, capable of escaping the gravitational field of Mars with ample, on-board life support systems and supplies for up to a seven months voyage, and the capability to either dock with a space station orbiting the Earth, or perform a safe re-entry and landing on Earth.
Contrary to the “return technology”, Mars One’s CEO Bas Lansdorp at a news conference maintained that no new inventions are needed to land humans on Mars as it’s not the first organization to ponder the idea of a manned mission to Mars. There have been many plans to do just this. And yet, none have come to fruition.
Shown on the website, thousands have applied to become one of four astronauts selected to set up a human colony in Mars. The Guardian says the project has already had 10 thousand applicants, according to the company's medical director, Norbert Kraft. When the official search is launched on Monday at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, they expect tens of thousands more hopefuls to put their names forward.
“Why should Mars One succeed?” asked the company while giving some reasons as written in its website:
Emigration – The Mars One astronauts will depart Earth assuming that they will never return. This radically changes the mission requirements, reducing the need for return vehicles associated with currently unavailable technologies and far greater costs.
Solar panels – Through the use of this simple, robust, and plentiful energy source, Mars One does not require the development and launch of a nuclear reactor, thereby saving time and money while avoiding the risks and concerns for use of a nuclear power source.
Simple rovers – Through the use of relatively simple rovers, designed to conduct basic settlement construction prior to human astronaut arrival, saving both time and cost.
No new developments – The entire plan revolves around the use of existing, validated technology
No politics – Suppliers are chosen on a balance of price and quality, not through political or national preferences.
Founded in 2010 by Bas Lansdorp, an engineer, Mars One says it has developed a realistic road map and financing plan for the project based on existing technologies and that the mission is perfectly feasible. The website states that the basic elements required for life are already present on the planet. For instance, water can be extracted from ice in the soil and Mars has sources of nitrogen, the primary element in the air we breathe. The colony will be powered by specially adapted solar panels, it says.
More about Mars, International Space Station, Space shuttle
 
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