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Surprising Science

Mars Reality Show Could Fund Manned Colony by 2023

By using "Big Brother" as a model, the Dutch company Mars One wants to create the world's biggest media spectacle. The goal is to attract corporate sponsorship to pay for the mission. 

What’s the Latest Development?

The Dutch company Mars One is planning to establish a manned colony on the Red Planet, beginning with a population of four astronauts, by 2023. To cope with the cost of the project, estimated at $6 billion, the company says it will create an unparalleled media event–an interplanetary “Big Brother”–to attract corporate sponsorship while broadcasting the project live around the world (of Earth). “Mars One officials say they’ve talked to a variety of private spaceflight companies around the world and have secured at least one potential supplier for each colony component.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Mars One claims it will begin selecting candidates for the first group of astronauts in 2013. “The company will then launch settlement components—such as habitat units, life-support equipment and another rover—in 2020. The two rovers will prepare the settlement for the arrival of the first humans in 2023.” Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft supports the company’s efforts, saying: “This is going to be a media spectacle. ‘Big Brother’ will pale in comparison. The whole world will be watching and experience this journey.” Both NASA and SpaceX are planning manned missions to Mars by the mid-2030s. 

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