The launch date for the highly-anticipated Mars mission is still a decade away but preparations are currently underway to make sure all goes as planned. NASA has announces they are in the process of weeding out volunteers, designing Mars space crafts and planning out the colony.
Everyone is curious how the final round of astronaut selection will go since from the 200,000 who put their names down for a one-way trip to Mars – only 660 remain in the running. At the final round of the selection, candidates will be interviewed and have their skills of working in a group tested. Candidates will face harsh, hostile mock-up environment as part of their test to see what life on the desolate planet would be like. At the end of this process, Mars One will consist of six groups of four astronauts each that will start official training for the mission.
Although the first humans are not scheduled to travel to Mars until 2024, there are several missions that will be carried out beforehand to lay down the groundwork. In 2018 a lander will blast off for the Red Planet as a trial-run for vital technologies the mission will need. A communications satellite that will beam messages back and forth will accompany it. 2020 will see an intelligent rover and a trailer sent up there as well to scope a good landing site. This will be followed by six cargo missions to deploy another rover, two living units and two life support units. They will produce a breathable atmosphere in the Mars habitat with a total of 3,000 litres of water and 120kg of oxygen in storage.
Mars One is still to announce the company that will be commissioned to build the actual rocket humans will travel with. The likeliest choices seem either Lockheed Martin or SpaceX. The trip itself will be made in stages, where the crew’s landing module and main living quarters will be sent into Earth’s orbit and docked together in 2024. Then, the crew will be launched into the orbit themselves, where they will get on board the waiting Mars space craft and head off for their destination.
As the Mars module detaches from the space craft, upon landing the crew will gradually descend onto the surface of the planet. There they will be picked up by the rovers and taken to the habitat. One of their first tasks would be to deploy more solar panels and start attempting to grow food on Mars before the second Mars One crew joins them in 2027.