Mars One has already started to recruit astronauts for its manned mission to Mars, scheduled for 2024, but the nonprofit announced an unmanned mission for 2018. On Tuesday, Mars One announced a deal with Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. for a lander and satellite.
Mars One has also set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise some funds for its unmanned mission, the first private mission to Mars. According to the foundation, the lander and satellite mission will serve as a proof of concept, an important test for technology and equipment for some future colonization of Mars.
In its Indiegogo Campaign, Mars One discusses its partnerships with companies that have an established history in the aerospace industry. Lockheed Martin is developing the Mars lander, using a design that was influenced by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, which was developed by Lockheed and launched in 2007. The satellite will be manufactured by SSTL, which has developed small satellites for various governments as well as the European Space Agency. The satellite will provide communication between Earth and Mars and will transmit data, including videos and images, from Mars.
The 2018 unmanned mission will begin a busy stretch for Mars One as it establishes an outpost on Mars ahead of sending astronauts to the Red Planet. The foundation plans to launch a rover and trailer to Mars by 2020 and a second satellite that will orbit around the sun, allowing for uninterrupted communication between Earth and Mars.
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The first cargo missions are projected to launch in 2022 and land on Mars in February 2023. The cargo will include two living facilities, two life support systems and two supply units. Mars One hopes to have the first outpost operational by 2023 with the first crew set to depart Earth in 2024 and landing on Mars in 2025. More than 200,000 individuals applied for the one-way mission to Mars.
Following the press conference, Mars One set up a “Tweetup” and answered questions on Twitter. The foundation expects a 3 1/2 year development period and one of the primary objectives of the mission is to determine the ability to produce water on Mars. The Indiegogo campaign hopes to raise $400,000 and offers perks starting at $10.
A video of the planned 2018 unmanned Mars mission can be viewed below.