Mars One Monday - April 26

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

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this picture of Curiosity (in the blue box at center) roving through a valley on the slopes of Mount Sharp. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

News from Mars One

Mars One didn’t release any updates last week. CEO Bas Lansdorp made a round of interviews with some fresh talking points, but no real news.

Lansdorp appeared on Fraser Cain’s Weekly Space Hangout. Given the panelists’ history of scepticism about the project, they had surprisingly few hard questions. Lansdorp indicated that Mars One was shifting its preferred technology provider from SpaceX to Lockheed Martin.

Arabian Business journalist Sarah Townsend led her article with a personal evaluation of Lansdorp. She described him as timid, disarmingly resolute, and like a “media-trained automaton”.

Grant Imahara spoke with Lansdorp for his Empowering Innovation project. They discussed the spirit of adventure and discovery that Mars One represents as well as the technologies needed to live on Mars. Nothing really new... but it was on the Enterprise! (Like Sriracha, everything's better with the Enterprise.) An accompanying article focuses on the psychological aspects of crew selection.

News from Mars

A few clicks helps produce good science. CosmoQuest's Planet Mappers: Mars Edition is the latest planetary science crowdsourcing project. Credit: CosmoQuest

CosmoQuest launched Planet Mappers: Mars Edition the group’s fourth crowdsourced crater-mapping project. Citizen scientists can identify craters in images from Nasa’s Mars orbiters and help build a catalog that scientists will use to study Martian geology. It joins citizen science projects that lets you map craters on Mercury, the Moon, and the asteroid Vesta. CosmoQuest launched the new project during its annual fundraising campaign. It lost its federal research grant during the budget battles and can only produce new science with donations from the public. (Hint, hint)

Students at Purdue University analysed the technical feasibility of Buzz Aldrin’s Mars exploration proposal. The students presented their final 1,000-page report to the Apollo astronaut last week. (He didn’t seem to mind that the students are undergraduates.) The mission specifications and full report are on the class website. You can read more about Aldrin’s vision in his book Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.

Although it was a slow news week from the professional Mars explorers, you can read insider updates from the rover and camera teams at Arizona State University’s Red Planet Report. Get the latest Mars weather report from Malin Space Science Systems.

Mars One in the News

Conditions in South Dakota look good compared to the surface of Mars. That’s the hook behind the state’s latest ad campaign. Seeking to counter perceptions that South Dakota is a frozen wasteland, the state’s economic development office asks “why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?” A state official told the Argus Leader “We think the Mars thing is right now… We want to go after those 25 to 40 year olds and that’s where this hook works.” 

Mars One Candidates in the News

Australian sustainability consultant Dianne McGrath spoke with students at Nambour Christian College, a secondary school north of Brisbane. She explained to the Sunshine Coast Daily how Mars One could inspire more students to study the sciences

Australian teacher Natalie Lawler explains to Her Collective how exploring Mars will teach us about ourselves and may make life better right here on Earth.

Australian Josh Richards spoke with Newscom about his decision to commit fully to the Mars One mission. The former comedian/commando/combat engineer has spent the past few years as a public speaker who inspires young people to pursue their dreams.

Kenya Armbrister’s global experience and time at the Mars Society’s analogue research station were part of her conversation with Oakland North.

Emergency room doctor Leila Zucker is a little more pessimistic about the mission’s survivability. In her interview with Georgetown University’s newspaper The Hoya, Zucker said “I don’t think that we are going to last more than a year or two, the first group, and… the second group, when they arrive, is unlikely to find the first group alive.”

Other Mars One candidates in the news: