Mars One Monday - 2014/12/8

The HiRise team released this image of sand dunes in the Arabia Terra region of Mars. The colors are enhanced to show the drifiting sands in blue. (Click the image to see it full-sized or follow the link for more details) Credit: Nasa/JPL/University of Arizona

Mars One Monday rounds up the past week’s reports on the project to send people on a one-way journey to Mars.

Pros on Mars

A simulation of water-filled Gale Crater. Data from the Curiosity rover leads Nasa scientists to believe that the crater's central peak formed from a lake's sediment deposits. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

A simulation of water-filled Gale Crater. Data from the Curiosity rover leads Nasa scientists to believe that the crater's central peak formed from a lake's sediment deposits. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

This morning Nasa announced that sediment deposits in an ancient lake created Mount Sharp. Scientists reached that conclusion based on data collected from Gale Crater by the Curiosity rover. The crater filled with water many times over the planet's history, depositing layer after layer of sediment in the process. Once Mars dried up wind erosion carved the crater's central peak into the shape we see today.

The Planetary Society posted an update on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The rover that won't quit is making its way along the rim of Endeavour Crater to its winter rest stop in Marathon Valley. Along the way it explored the fractured surface created by the crater-carving impact of an ancient asteroid. Unfortunately, Opportunity entered "crippled mode" at the end of November which prevents it from saving data in its flash drive. Like any computer problem, the solution may be as easy as turning it off and turning it on again - reboots solved the rover Spirit's cripple mode issues.

News from Mars One

An artist's impression of the Mars One lander scheduled for 2018. Credit: Mars One

An artist's impression of the Mars One lander scheduled for 2018. Credit: Mars One

Mars One announced the 10 candidates vying for a payload spot on its Mars lander. The first privately-financed robotic mission to the red planet will pave the way for technologies Mars One needs to send humans to Mars. The proposals include oxygen production, food production, radiation shielding, atmospheric and geological experiments. Public voting on the proposals will begin this month.

Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp spoke with Dutch business site Management Team. Lansdorp explained (in Dutch) that the media value of Martian exploration is "5 to 10 times as high" as the World Cup. Add to that revenues from the patents it develops in the process of getting to Mars, and Lansdorp believes his organization will have no trouble funding the settlement.

Commentary on Mars One

Media outlets around the world rehashed Elmo Keep's article in Medium. See for example, Business Insider and the Daily Mail. Although Newsweek put in a little more effort by discussing Keep's article with Mars One candidate Melissa Ede

Much of the attention in these articles focused on criticism from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He advised the Mars One candidates to "ask the hard questions" and listed the many areas where technology isn't ready for human activity on Mars. Hadfield described his vision for the future of human space exploration before the Royal Geographical SocietyHe believes the Moon is a better choice given the primitive state of Mars exploration technology.

After "beaming" people's names to Mars the previous week, Uwingu has ramped up its holiday PR effort. The company raises money for space exploration by selling crater naming rights on its in-house map of Mars. The Daily Camera interviewed planetary scientist and Uwingu CEO Alan Stern who described the cheapest crater naming option as "the perfect stocking stuffer." He also defended the legitimacy of the Uwingu map by pointing out that Mars One will use it while exploring Mars. The article closes with faint praise from the Unversity of Colorado's planetarium director. Since the people involved in Uwingu are scientists who will use the money to promote space exploration, Doug Duncan finds Uwingu's use of "somewhat unethical" fundraising tactics more acceptable.

Mars One Candidates in the News

Digital Journal described the Round 2 interviews. The 663 remaining Mars One candidates will participate in Skype interviews with Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft to identify the best few dozen candidates to move forward to the training round.