Mars One estimates the cost of putting the first four people on Mars at about six billion US dollars.
The Mars One mission plan consists of cargo missions and unmanned preparation of a habitable settlement, followed by human landings. In the coming years, a demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions will be sent to Mars. These missions will set up the outpost where the human crew will live and work.
The mission design takes into account the expansion of the human colony where a new crew arrive every two years.
Mars One will select and train the human crew for permanent settlement. The search for Astronauts began in April 2013. More than 78,000 registered for the selection programme within two weeks of its launch.
Stichting Mars One is a Dutch non-for-profit foundation. It is the mother company of Interplanetary Media Group, a for-profit company, which enables the foundation to secure funds from its investors.
It is Mars One's goal to establish a human settlement on Mars.
Human settlement of Mars is the next giant leap for humankind. Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together.
Mars is the stepping stone of the human race on its voyage into the universe. Human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, anything can be achieved.
Mars One has developed a realistic plan to establish a permanent settlement on Mars by 2023. This plan is built upon existing technologies available from proven suppliers. Mars One is not an aerospace company and will not manufacture mission hardware. All equipment will be developed by third party suppliers and integrated in established facilities.
The mission is comprised of the following primary hardware components.
Launcher: Several rocket launches will be needed to take payloads into Earth orbit and then onto Mars. Payload may be satellites, rovers, cargo or humans. Mars One anticipates using Space X Falcon Heavy, an upgraded version of the Falcon 9, which is in use by Space X currently. The Falcon Heavy is slated to undergo test flights in 2014, granting ample time for fine-tuning prior to the Mars One missions.
Mars Transit Vehicle: Human crew will travel through space for around seven months. The transit vehicle will consist of two propellent stages-- a landing module and transit habitat. On reaching Mars the crew in their Marsuits will descend to the Mars surface in the landing module, leaving their living quarters behind, which is too heavy to land.
Mars Landing capsule: Mars One will secure the landing capsule from one of the experienced suppliers in the world, for example Lockheed Martin or SpaceX. The SpaceX capsule under consideration is a variant of the Dragon Capsule, tested on several occasions since 2010. Similar Landers will be equipped to perform different functions.
1. Carrying Life Support Units that generate energy, water and breathable air for the settlement.
2. Carrying Supply Unit with food, solar panels, spare parts and other components.
3. Carrying Living Units that are outfitted with deployable inflatable habitats.
4. Carrying Humans to the surface of Mars
5. Carrying Rovers to the surface of Mars
Rover: Two Rovers will be sent to Mars to set up the outpost before the humans arrive. One of them will explore the surface of Mars in search of the most suitable location for the settlement, for transport of large hardware components and then general assembly. It will be accompanied by the second rover, a trailer used for transporting the landing capsules.
Marssuit: All astronauts must wear their Marssuits when exposed to the Mars atmosphere. Like those used by the Apollo astronauts on the Moon, Marssuits protect astronauts from extreme temperatures, the very thin, non-breathable atmosphere, and otherwise harmful radiation.
Communications system: The communications system will consist of two communications satellites and Earth ground stations. It will transmit data from Mars to Earth and back.
No new technology developments are required to establish a human settlement on Mars. Mars One has visited major aerospace companies around the world to discuss the requirements, budget and timelines with their engineers and business developers. The current mission plan was composed on the basis of feedback received in these meetings.