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NAB Show 2014 Las Vegas and Mars One: a reason to explore space again

Bas Lansdorp now has reason to go exploring and it is on Mars. Around the globe, 200,000 people have applied to go to Mars. The NAB Show, the leading show in America for broadcast innovations, hosted many companies at the Las Vegas Convention Center, but none as unique as Mars One. On April 9, 2014 it was no wonder that Bas picked the NAB Show to speak about his project. With the lunar landing of the 1960's, there was an exceptional increase in people achieving PhDs in aerospace because so many people were striving to be a part of that excitement. The most important thing that Mars One has to offer is inspiration, according to Bas. He says children will want to be astronauts again instead of pop stars. People will want to learn new skills because they can see the application for something so important. The images from space are very memorable and important to people pushing boundaries and limits such as Neil Armstrong on the moon. These kinds of images are very valuable to broadcasters. Bas discovered that revenues for the London Olympics exceeded 4 billion U.S. dollars. Most of the exposure through broadcasting was valued at over 1 billion U.S. dollars each week of broadcasting the Olympics through broadcasting rights and sponsorships. So, just how valuable would the content be from the most exclusive content in the solar system, humans walking around on Mars. Bas compared this to a ski trip with three best friends. And on the last day of the trip, you are all snowed in from a blizzard for a week or maybe even a month. Are these people still going to be best friends? Bas's mission and biggest challenge is to find 4 people to survive together for 3 years before the second crew joins them on Mars. He compared this to humans not being native to the lands of Nevada or northern Canada. So in order to survive we need the technology. And humans have always gone to where the technology takes us.

Transit Habitat A
Transit Habitat A
Mars One Press Release art by Bryan Versteeg
Conceptual art of Mars One colony
photo by Thomas Stark: Mars One slide show

By 2025, Bas plans to bring about a permanent colony on Mars. Using only existing technology Bas plans to bring all of this together. He says it is a 7 month journey just to get to Mars which is about the same amount of time astronauts spend in the Space Station. There is no capability to launch a rocket to Mars to return astronauts back to Earth. Humans are not native to Germany but they are native to Africa from which people have spread all over the world. Bas is passionate about spreading out as a species to new lands and frontiers, which we have always done as a species. Wherever technology allows us to travel we will go, such as the international space station. On an 18 meter ship, humans traveled to America in the 1600s. Only 100 years ago during the colonization of Austrailia it took 4 months to ship letters as communication back home. Now with the internet, communications traveling at the speed of light may take a maximum of 40 minutes to relay messages with usual time of 2 to 10 minutes. According to Bas, this is a lot less extreme than traveling to Australia a hundred years ago.

Bas explained that Mars is the next leap for mankind. The moon is not a good place to live. Venus is not a good place to go and everything else is just too far away. In 2011, Mars One was founded. Bas met with leaders of many aerospace companies to come up with a solid plan. In 2013, crew selection began. Crew selection is extremely important and the most innovations may come from this. Qualities Mars One is looking for is that of a McGuiver...a problem solver and can easily repair anything on the fly. When Bas first started looking he was looking for doctor and engineer type characteristics. The most important quality is the quality to function in that team. All of the things done on Mars will be pretty basic. And they will not need a nuclear physicist on Mars. They need to be healthy and smart : fixing broken bones, putting 2 broken systems together as one to work, growing vegetables and such things which anyone with a good brain can figure out. In 2015, crew training to begin. So, back to the ski trip scenario. This is a crew of 4 people to be snowed in for 10 years to function as a team. This will be in a very isolated desert area. Things which may go wrong, will go wrong, such as oxygen leaks. Possibly the greatest challenge for them to overcome might be a broken toilet, which no one could escape the smells. Backup crews will be in place. Elections will be made as to what teams go first. There will always be fresh teams going into the training program. In 2018, the first unmanned mission is scheduled as a small mission to extract water from the Mars surface and set up solar panels. Lockheed Martin Aerospace is on the contract to start the design of this mission as well as Surrey Satellites from the UK and Paragon Space Development Corporation in America are already developing. In 2020, the rover mission to begin. A rover will be sent to Mars to drive around looking for the best possible place for settlement including enough water in the surface and most level area for construction. Mars One already has an area in mind but the rover will find the exact spot. In 2022, 6 cargo missions will be sent to Mars: 2 life support units, 2 live in units (5 meters in diameter with inflatable walls 4.5 meters in diameter and about 25 meters long with a total living space of 250 sq. meters), another rover, and the supply unit. In 2023, the outpost will be made operational. The 2 rovers will move all of the cargo to the outpost location. They will deploy the solar panels, activate the life support systems and water, and a breathable environment will be activated in the habitat. So, even before the first crew departs the environment will be made habitable. The settlement will be waiting for them. In 2024, the departure of Crew One for Mars begins from a small station in low Earth orbit. The landing module to be the same as those of the cargo modules so that a good track record of landing those in a safe manner is already established. Landing on Mars is a very dangerous process in and of itself. Bas compared to the landing of the Apollo on the moon which was never tested unmanned on the moon. This time things will be different with plenty of pre landings of cargo. In 2025, the landing of Crew One will land on Mars which Bas believes to be one of the most exciting moments in the history of the human species. Much work will be done by the astronauts. They will have deploy more solar panels, install hallways between the modules, install greenhouse equipment as they will be growing their own vegetation. About the vegetation, Bas says there will be no animals brought to Mars but rather insects for protein which is common in many cultures outside the U.S. A few weeks after Crew One lands even more cargo will land for Crew Two which will add another 250 sq. meters of living space and more redundancy of previous setup work. In 2026, the second crew will depart which will start a chain of crews going to Mars every 2 years. It will be less risky than bringing people back from Mars.

The cost of sending four people to Mars is 6 billion U.S. dollars. When the first humans land on Mars, this will be exceptionally exciting. When the Mars One website was launched, emails came in asking about how to donate. Bas spoke of Carlos Slim of Mexico the second wealthiest man alive at 72 billion U.S. dollars next to Bill Gates at 76 billion U.S. dollars. The colony could be called Slimville where the landing takes place. It is estimated that 4 billion people will have an internet connection where they can watch the landing on Mars live in 2025. Bas did some calculations to create a forecast from revenue of the London Olympics. 4 billion U.S. dollars went to the broadcasters only because people were watching. This does not even include ticketing and sales. So, from this comparison of revenues at over 1 billion U.S. dollars per week coming in from broadcasting the Olympics, 6 billion U.S. dollars is not so much.

Innovation of items to be sent to Mars must be tested over and over for the highest quality. Lots of studies are currently underway at Biosphere 2 in Tuscon Arizona. There was a failure with the waste system in which the air quality became toxic. The human waste disposal problem has since been resolved. Repairing something so far away would have to only be of minor errors. A spare part would take 33 months to get to Mars. A great deal of innovation will be taking place. Innovations in recycling will be an exceptional study and each item should be used many times. Innovations in many cultures coming together to work together as a team will be important knowledge for people here on Earth as well as over in Mars. CEOs will be looking at this to learn from. The psychological knowledge will be very important. Solar power technology will be full scale as to not be dependent on nuclear. Each Kilo costs about 100 thousand U.S. dollars. More lightweight materials will be used, so material science will be a central study to figure out what works best in this environment.

Bas is an entrepreneur and not a space traveler. He explained he would not be going as he would not be a good fit as he is too pushy. An ever growing settlement will be coming about and more and more technology will be sent. They will be producing their own water, their own nitrogen, their own oxygen, They will use the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow vegetation. The people will have jobs in which they will construct, mine, navigate, and build a whole new society independent of the Earth. If Mars One runs out of money in 10 years, maybe the media companies can use this material for reality series for the next 50 years at least. The Apollo missions resulted in many innovations, so the Mars mission is bound to create new innovations. Because of all the budget cuts there is a lot of cooperation coming from the space agencies. Mars One is in discussion with all the space agencies. ISA and NASA are the most cooperative and as well Bas is talking with Russian, Chinese, and Indian space agencies. In 2018, these countries have authorization to participate in one of the payloads. Bas says there is quite a lot of interest for that. There is no official cooperation with these countries but Bas says he is working on this. Terraforming in theory is possible but not part of the mission. The bigger mission will be for the people to build a tunnel or dome or some larger area to live within the environment building out from what they start with. More so what is needed is to make this place a home rather than a habitat using available supplies both from cargo and on the planet. People may forget the first president of America one day but they will never forget the first to start living on the Red Planet. Children on Mars would be acceptable. At this time, scientists do not know if women can get pregnant because of amount in gravity differences. This will be a very dangerous environment to raise a child due to such a low amount of supplies at first. But in the future if there is enough progress with a dome or some type of living environmental building a child would be considered the first martian.

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