Mars One Monday - July 20

Mars One Monday rounds up the past week’s reports about the people who want to go on a one-way journey to Mars.

Mars One Candidates in the News

Mars One topped off its candidate list with the selection of six substitutes for candidates who dropped out earlier this year. The new candidates come from India, Uruguay, Ireland, and the United States.

American engineer Hampton Black was interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times last year. The infographic at the bottom of the article won the Best News Graphic/Illustration prize in this year’s Florida Society of News Editors Journalism Contest. Fox Tampa Bay interviewed Black last week after his elevation to the Mars100.

American space business development specialist Kellie Gerardi moderated a panel discussion on business opportunities in low Earth orbit at last week’s New Space 2015 conference.

Among the other new candidates, French-Irish IT engineer Steve Menaa spoke with The Sun and the Irish Post. Uruguayan Yuri Lopez spoke (in Spanish) with El PaisSputnik News and El Observador.

In other candidate news, Ryan MacDonald attended the St. Giles Academy's “Could We Live on Mars” exhibition and faced elimination in the British reality contest King of the Nerds.

The Guardian wrote about arts projects that engage in micro-communities, citing Ella and Nicki’s A Decade With Mars project as an example of socially-engaged practice. The British artists have spent the past year conducting Near Space balloon flights with communities across the UK. This early morning flight over London even captured the Lyrid Meteor shower from the stratosphere:

Canada’s Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival includes the one-person-black-comedy Mars One. Actor Johanna Burdon plays all of the characters - from Bas Lansdorp to the settlers - as she explores what it means to leave Earth forever. CBC reviewer Jeff Schmidt gave the show 5 stars, concluding: “It's not flashy, but this is one of those unexpected Fringe gems that surprises with its near-perfect blend of humour and pathos.”

Mars One in the News

Mars One Chief Medical Officer Dr. Norbert Kraft posted a second article about the organization’s astronaut selection process. The 100 candidates will gather together for the first - and only - time in late 2016. A series of individual and group challenge will eliminate 60 candidates from contention. A further 10 candidates will get eliminated after nine days in isolation. A final 4-hour interview will deliver the final 24 candidates who will enter Mars One’s training program. Gizmag and The Daily Mail covered the announcement.

Kristian vonBengtson quietly resigned from Mars One only thirteen months after becoming its Outpost Architect. He will launch a Denmark-based space project in October.

Bas Lansdorp is touring Iceland where Mars One may host its simulation outpost

ExtremeTech writer Graham Templeton says “Mars One is consistently putting the cart before the horse.” After reviewing its candidate selection process, Templeton accuses Mars One of focusing too much on the human aspect of the mission without addressing the technological challenges of the lander and rover forerunner missions or the early cargo missions.

Russia’s Vesti FM interviewed sceptical scientists with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics who compared Mars One’s concept to jumping off a skyscraper and cited the lack of support from the mainstream aerospace industry.

News from Mars

The world's Mars missions did not release much news last week - a wise choice given the flood of news from New Horizon's flyby of Pluto.

The elongated light toned rock is feldspar, a mineral typically found in Earth's granitic continental crust. The impact that created Gale Crater brought this ancient piece of Mars history to the surface. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/LANL/IRAP/U. Nantes/IAS/MSSS

French and American scientists discovered Martian rocks similar to Earth's continental crust. The Martian crust is thought to be mainly basaltic rock similar to the oceanic crusts on Earth. But when the scientists analysed data from Curiosity's ChemCam instrument, they found a lighter outcrop to be more similar to the granitic rocks of Earth’s continental crust. In the Los Alamos National Laboratory press release ChemCam lead scientist Roger Wiens called the results “quite unexpected on Mars.” The full article is behind the paywall at Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2474)

The Planet Four science team conducted a Reddit AMA where they explained how their crowdsourced citizen science project will produce better weather and climate models of Mars. Their vision of the next steps in robotic exploration involve many small spacecraft rather than the traditional flagship approach. Dozens of small landers or a constellation of CubeSats could produce weather and seismic data in a global context that a single spacecraft never could. The scientists also poured water on climate sceptics’ claims that Mars is warming at the same rate as Earth - there is no data to support those claims.

Other news from Mars: