An Independent Assessment of the Technical Feasibility of the Mars One Mission Plan

November 6, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Room 33-218

Speaker: Sydney Do.

In mid-2012, the Netherlands-based Mars One program was announced, aiming to build the first human settlement on the surface of Mars. Following a series of precursor missions to develop and deploy key technologies, the first crewed mission would depart Earth in 2024, sending four people on a one-way journey to the surface of Mars. Additional four-person crews would be sent to Mars at every subsequent launch opportunity to further support and expand the Martian colony.
While this program has been received with great fanfare, very little has been published in the technical literature on this mission architecture. As the Mars One mission plan represents a dramatic departure from traditional exploration approaches, there are many uncertainties in its mission design. The establishment of a colony on Mars will rely on in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and life support technologies that are more capable than the current state of the art. Moreover, resupply logistics and sparing will play a large role in the proposed colony, though the magnitude and behavior of these two effects is not well understood.
In light of this, we perform an independent assessment of the technical feasibility of the Mars One mission architecture, identify technical and operational challenges, and propose architectural solutions. Through this effort, we make several observations and recommendations that are applicable to all one-way Mars colonization plans.

Since it was first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, this work has attracted significant attention from several media outlets worldwide, including Popular Science,Popular MechanicsNew Scientist, the LA TimesTime Magazinethe Huffington Post, and the BBC World Service.

In this talk, we will discuss our analysis approach, describe our observations and findings, and open the floor for questions on any topic related to Mars habitation and settlement.