A Mars reality show is likely to happen by 2023 because a Dutch company is determined to establish a permanent colony on the Red Planet by spending $6 billion.
The project, called Mars One, plans to drop four astronauts on the planet in April 2023 and none of them will ever return to Earth.
To pay for all of this, the project will stage a media spectacle the likes of which the world has never seen — a sort of interplanetary reality show a la “Big Brother.”
“This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity’s dream to explore outer space,” theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, said in an introductory video posted on the company’s website. “It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let’s get started.” [7 Biggest Mysteries of Mars]
Mars One hopes to launch a communications satellite and a supply mission to Mars in 2016, then send a large rover to the Red Planet in 2018, according to the video.
This rover will scout out suitable sites for the new Mars colony. 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.
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.
They plan to launch many components on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, for example, which is expected to be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle when it starts flying. The Falcon Heavy is still in development, and SpaceX officials have said the rocket’s first test flight could come as early as next year.