Mars One Monthly - March

Mars One Monthly rounds up the past month’s reports about Mars and the people who want to go on a one-way journey to the red planet. Mars One’s technical and financial prospects remain controversial. Yet the candidates themselves are the most visible example of a global trend - the public’s increasing participation in space exploration. 

Jump to:

  • Mars One Candidates: Media appearances, public addresses and educational outreach by the 100 candidates for settling Mars
  • Artists Inspired by Mars One: Lisa and Bart Simpson settle Mars, a musical about the choices candidates face, and artists' interpretations of the settlement concept
  • Mars One in the News: A book about training settlers for Mars, interviews about life support and growing food on Mars, and updates from Mars One
  • News from Mars: Opportunity's 12th year on Mars, ExoMars 2016 prepares for launch, and a month's worth of discoveries about the red planet

Mars One Candidates in the News

Australian Josh Richards sat in a box for five days. The pent up energy must have been too much for him because he seemed to be all over the place in February. He wrote articles for the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. In “A Mars Mission One Day Helps Me Work, Rest And Play” he described how, facing the impossibility of becoming an astronaut, he grew up to become a physicist, commando, comedian. In “Australia's Martian: This Physicist, Soldier And Comic May Leave Earth Forever” Richards describes how he is preparing for life on another planet. Richards joined “ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler” to discuss the Mars One project. He also spoke at the World Science Festival Brisbane. Now Richards has embarked on a global tour of his "Cosmic Nomad" comedy show

MIT engineer Yari Rodriquez spoke at a Girls in STEM Camp. (Wicked Local) She explained how women like Sally Ride and Christa McAuliffe inspired her to pursue an engineering career.

Maadi Messenger will feature Egyptian Mohammed Sallam in its March issue. Sallam will also speak at TEDxKafrElsheikh.

South Africa’s News24 reported that Adriana Marais’ training for the next selection round includes Kung Fu classes and preparation for a 56 kilometer ultra marathon. Marais' other media appearances included radio interviews with East Coast Radio BreakfastThe Gareth Cliff Show, and AM Live. Marais also held education outreach sessions at Cordwelles Preparatory School


The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore told a reddit AMA that he hated “every second” Sonia van Meter was on his show. CinemaBlend could not find anything in the episode to warrant that attitude. “She appears to be polite, cheerful and informative about the topic, while regular panelist Ricky Velez keeps derailing it, as he does every other time someone smart is trying to talk.” Most of the people who replied to Wilmore’s AMA seemed to feel the same way.

ustria Presse Agenteur interviewed Gunther Golob whose preparation for the next selection round is sending him to Chile’s Atacama Desert. The extreme aridity and high altitude of the Andean plateau is often used as a Mars analog site. Several media outlets, including Der Standard and Kleine Zeitung, ran the story. (Google Translate was better on Kleine Zeitung but your mileage may vary.)

In her capacity as media specialist for the Commercial Spaceflight Foundation, American candidate Kelli Gerardi will join a panel discussion at South-by-Southwest to discuss Austin’s space industry. (Bas Lansdorp also has a session at SXSW.)

Australian sustainability consultant Dianne McGrath will discuss “What it takes to make it on Mars” at the Conference of Major Super Funds (for Americans “Super Funds” are non-profit organizations). Dianne also will address the CPA Australia conferences this month.

Other candidate news:

Artists Inspired by Mars One

Lisa Simpson wants to go to Mars. Lisa volunteers for a future one-way journey to Mars, explains the Fox listing, but Marge decides to discourage her by sending Bart to the training program. “The Marge-ian Chronicles” will air March 13.

Es waren sehr schöne Momente zusammen mit der Berliner Filmcrew um Thomas Dahm, Sandra Müller und Moritz Bauer in...

Posted by Robert P. Schröder - Mars One Astronaut Candidate on Monday, February 22, 2016

The German documentary “Man on Mars” has entered distribution. The producers spent a week with Robert Schröder to document the motivations that drive someone to pursue the dream of Mars settlement.

Dying on Mars is an audio documentary about the Mars One candidates. Kerry Provenzano spoke with the candidates as well as outside experts to evaluate the financial and psychological reality of a one-way journey to the red planet

The Interview: Red, Red Future” opened at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston last month. Houstonia interviewed performance artist MPA about her examination of life in a Martian colony. You can read essays and interviews from the exhibition’s limited-run catalog on the museum’s site where MPA explains how Mars One initially inspired her work. In an interview with Art in America, MPA said that she is not interested in Mars One’s success-or-failure but in “observing a new tale of colonization playing out in the cultural imaginary”. The exhibition runs through June 5.

One Way”, a musical about Mars One, will have its Off-Broadway premiere May 31 at Playwright’s Horizon. It is produced by the Musical Theater Factory a volunteer organization that supports early career artists. From MTF’s description, “ONE-WAY follows Naomi, a young Canadian astrophysicist selected as a finalist to go on the first one-way trip to Mars…. Naomi’s partner, Elaine, however, struggles to understand why the mission is worth a human life. Naomi must choose: venture to Mars in the name of scientific advancement and human advancement and human exploration or remain here on Earth to be with the woman she loves.”

Critical Focus: Lanny DeVuono” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver features DeVuono’s conceptual landscapes inspired by space exploration, the legacy of colonization, and Mars One. 5280 spoke with the Denver-based artist at the exhibit's opening. His work will be on display through June 5. 

Exploring Mars may be the ultimate in modern technology, but that does not mean artists are chained to the exactness of science. A graphic artist created a map of Mars in the style of medieval and renaissance maps of old. The map only covers one fourth of the Martian surface. If enough people buy the map, perhaps that will be incentive enough for her to complete the other three?

Mars One in the News

Mars One released its book “Mars One: Humanity’s Great Adventure” written by the scientists designing the astronaut training program. The book is one of the promised but often delayed perqs from Mars One’s crowdfunding campaign. 

Two people joined Mars One’s Advisory Board. Tufts University professor of urban planning Justin Hollander will contribute his expertise in the history of settlement and colonization. Teacher and Australian Mars Society director Ken Silburn focuses on enhanced science education.

Mars One posted a Q-and-A with ecologist Wieger Wamelink about his team’s exploration of Martian agriculture. The questions came from the wider Mars One community and touched on the challenges of artificial lighting, martian soil vs aquaculture, and planetary protection. You can read part 1 and part 2 on the Mars Exchange site.

Mars One also posted an interview with Paragon Space Development Corporation’s CEO and Chief Engineer (part 1 and part 2 are on the Mars Exchange site). They explain the scope of their study and the high level results. They emphasize that the “fundamental technologies do exist” but require development to make them “reliable and maintainable”. The real challenge is to create a sustainable program with consistent funding (something Nasa struggles to achieve).

Mars One’s mission concept artist Bryan Versteeg concluded his conversation about the artistic process

The Portugeuse graduate students who won Mars One’s competition to place an experiment on its Mars lander have won another contest. The European Space Agency picked their hypergravity research experiment for the “Spin Your Thesis” program. A centrifuge will spin their experiment to 10-20 g’s to study cell regeneration.

Germany’s Legal Tribune Online explored the legal implications of Mars One’s vision. While the Netherlands would be the settlement’s state of registry, existing legal frameworks do not cover the unique implications of extraplanetary legal issues. 

News from Mars

The Arda Valles region was the scene of massive water flows from the southern highlands into the Ladon Basin. The channels are still visible in this image from the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

New research published in Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nature17171) by scientists at the University of Paris-South suggests that the rise of the volcanic Tharsis region tilted the planet’s axis and shifted pre-existing rivers and lakes. The paper is locked behind Nature’s paywall but several science sites provide good recaps (New Scientist, Christian Science Monitor).

Sheyna Gifford, Hi-Seas health officer, describes her team’s experience conducting a Mars analog mission for Aeon Magazine. They are spending a year and a day in a sealed habitation module on the side of the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawai’i. From the twenty-minute light-time delay in communications to wearing “space suits” whenever they leave the hab, the six person team simulates a human mission to the red planet so scientists can study the psychological effects and small-group dynamics that comes with living in cramped quarters for so long.

Writing from Nasa’s Human Landing Site Selection Workshop, Scientific American editor Lee Billings reported on the discussions and debates that go into mapping the space agency’s Journey to Mars. Factions among the scientists, engineers, and astronauts debated the various priorities - from where to land to how to avoid radiation. But the issue of planetary protection - how to keep Earth life from contaminating Mars - may be the toughest issue to resolve.

The Insight mission’s future may be decided this month, SpaceNews reported. Nasa suspended the mission just months from its planned launch after the spacecraft’s engineers determined the seismic instrument’s ability to hold a vacuum was compromised. Paying the $150 million cost to store the spacecraft and keep the mission team intact for two years will come at the expense of other Nasa programs. (CNES will pay to fix the instrument itself.)

Mars will feature heavily at the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March. Most of the presentations will deal with the scientific discoveries and plans for Mars exploration. A few poster presentations will explain how the public supports Mars science. The Zooniverse citizen science projects Planet Four (abstract PDF) and Planet Four: Terrains (abstract PDF) will deliver poster presentations.

The European Space Agency stepped up its Mars communications in advance of the ExoMars 2016 launch later this month. It published an interview with Esa planetary protection officer Gerhard Kminek as well as updates for each stage in the preparation for launch:

In honor of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's 12th year on Mars, AJS Rayl’s article for the Planetary Society reviews the the long-lived mission’s remarkable achievements. More achievements lie ahead as the plucky little rover continues to explore Meridiani Planum. The rover team took advantage of the lengthening days to drive Opportunity up the steep slopes of Knudsen Ridge. They hope to get a purer exposure of the red-tinted rocks and improve their understanding of water’s role in Martian geology. (Knudsen Ridge is named after Danish scientist and founding Opportunity team member Jens Martin Knudsen.)

Other news from Mars: