Mars One Effort Faltering as Doubts Grow

Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)
Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Even as Mars One announced 100 finalists for its plan to colonize the red planet, things were beginning to go wrong behind the scenes, with a television production deal falling through and doubts about whether a pair of precursor missions would take place. The $6 billion has come under criticism for being unrealistic, with one expert suggesting it might be a fraud.

The most recent piece of bad news relates to a planned television program.

The venture’s accompanying reality TV show – which was to be made by the makers of Big Brother to document their training and new lives on the red planet – has been shelved after the companies were ‘unable to reach an agreement on details’, MailOnline has learned….

Instead, Mars One is working with a new production company to record the colonists’ progress.

Initially, there were plans for Endemol to make a reality TV programme documenting the selection process and training of the colonists.

It was to be made by Endemol-owned Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP) and was dubbed ‘Big Brother on Mars’.

But DSP told MailOnline: ‘DSP and Mars One were unable reach agreement on the details of the contract and DSP is no longer involved in the project. We wish Bas and the team all the very best.’

Mars One 2018 lander (Credit: Mars One)
Mars One 2018 lander (Credit: Mars One)

Meanwhile, Space News reports that Mars One

has quietly suspended work on a pair of robotic missions, putting into question plans to launch those spacecraft in 2018.

Mars One, a Dutch-based nonprofit organization, announced in December 2013 it was starting work on two robotic missions it planned to launch in 2018 as precursors to its human expeditions to Mars. One spacecraft would orbit Mars and serve as a communications relay, while the other would be a lander to test technologies planned for later crewed missions.

At that time, Mars One announced it had selected Lockheed Martin to begin work on the lander mission and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) to start work on the orbiter. Mars One awarded contracts to each company to perform concept studies of the planned missions….

However, both companies confirmed with SpaceNews that, since the completion of those study contracts, they have not received additional contracts from Mars One to continue work on those missions.

Writing at BuzzFeed, Dan Vergano says the private Mars colonization effort has far too many obstacles and far too little money to begin Mars colonization 10 years from now.

It’s only the latest in decades of celebrated Mars colonization projects. And just like all the rest, this one is unlikely to ever happen, experts say.

“It looks like a scam,” John Logsdon, a space policy expert at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., told BuzzFeed News. “They don’t have any technology, they don’t have any agreements with the space industry. It looks very shaky.”

The bigger problem? Mars One’s flaws — too few spaceships, nonexistent life-support technologies, not nearly enough money, and, really, no good reason for going — discredit all Mars exploration plans, including NASA’s.

Although these hurdles are obvious to everyone in the space industry, politicians have spent decades trumpeting Mars plans, only to cut and run when presented with the bill for their interplanetary adventures.

Vergano’s piece is worth a read in that he thinks NASA’s plan for Mars exploration isn’t feasible due to funding constraints.