A private unmanned mission to Mars by 2018?

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A private unmanned mission to Mars by 2018?

Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, Mars One founder and CEO, told reporters the foundation has signed contracts with two major aerospace firms, Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology, to develop mission concept studies, a first step toward eventual construction and launch.

The lander will be based on the design of the 2007 Phoenix Mars lander that Lockheed Martin developed for NASA. The communications satellite — the first such “geostationary” comsat in orbit around the red planet — will incorporate technologies developed by Surrey and used in a variety of operational spacecraft.

Mission concept studies are of course essential before you begin construction, but they are also a far cry from actual construction. I’ve seen literally hundreds of similar concept studies about someone’s big space plans with no subsequent follow up. Thus, I will only begin to take Mars One serious when they actually start cutting metal.


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