Remember Mars One? It’s that private company that claimed they were going to send humans to Mars in the next decade, despite not having any actual plan of how to do so.
Well, they’ve just announced that they’ve delayed their totally-going-to-happen mission again by five years – nine years overall from the original plan. This means that their first crew would now launch in 2031, rather than 2026, and arrive in 2032.
They plan to pick three to six four-person crews from the 100 remaining astronaut candidates, who will be hired full time to train for the mission. A spokesperson for Mars One told IFLScience they would be paid between $70,000 and $100,000 per year, similar to what a NASA astronaut is paid.
In a statement, Bas Lansdorp – the CEO and founder of the company – said that the reason for the delay was to secure more funding. It comes off the back of the recent news that Mars One has been bought out by Swiss firm for an undisclosed sum.
“In order to make Mars One's commercial activities an attractive investment with the potential of a good return on investment, Mars One had to adjust the timing of the planned unmanned and manned missions,” Lansdorp said. “Of course the whole Mars One team would have preferred to be able to stick to the original schedule, but this new timeline significantly improves our odds of successfully achieving this mission roadmap.”
Before the crew arrives, Mars One wants to send an unmanned mission in 2022, and a rover to select a site for a settlement in 2026. Mars One/Bryan Versteeg
Back in 2012 when Mars One’s grandiose plan was first announced, the company received a huge amount of publicity from media all over the world, despite the obvious shortcomings. At the time, many questioned the company’s chance of success – they were hoping to send people on a one-way trip to colonize Mars by 2022, but had no technical plan to show how they’d do it.
Since then, the plan has quickly unraveled with numerous delays. And in August 2015, Lansdorp and one of his key technical people, Barry Finger of Paragon, were ripped apart by a pair of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who pointed out everything wrong with the mission proposal – without getting any sufficient responses from Mars One.
Still, the company is persevering. And perhaps there’s some positive spin we can take from it; it’s at least putting the idea of sending humans to Mars in the public eye, which has gained traction again in recent years thanks to Elon Musk and NASA. Musk wants to send humans to Mars in the 2020s, while NASA is eyeing up the 2030s.
As for Mars One, well, it’s probably never going to happen. It was fun while it lasted, though, eh?