Mars One, a Netherlands-based non-profit organization which aims to land the first humans on Mars, may have quietly dropped two robotic missions that were designed to set a permanent base on the Martian soil starting 2018.
Inner sources said that Mars One has only a “few months” at its disposal to decide whether it will resume its projects, or suspend them until 2020. The sources also reported that Mars One was not currently developing a robotic Martian lander and a communications satellite that would have prepared the first manned mission on the Red Planet in 2024.
The Dutch organization had announced the details about the two robotic missions in December 2013. According to a Mars One’s statement, the lander was supposed to extract liquid water from the icy Martian crust and test the solar panel technology, while the communications satellite would have provided the live video streaming from the lander.
“These missions are the first step in Mars One’s overall plan of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. We believe we are in very good shape to make this happen,”
Bas Landsorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One, announced in 2013 during a press conference.
The mission has also announced early this year the 100 finalists, out of the 200,000 applicants, that will compete for a one-way ticket to Mars in 2024. Mars One announced that only 24 people would be able to set foot on our neighboring planet, but not together. Every two years, starting 2024, four people will start their journey of a lifetime never to turn back home. Additionally, each mission of four would have cost the organization nearly $6 billion.
But the two companies that had completed the concept studies for the Mars One’s projects recently reported that they hadn’t received any other contracts from the group to continue with its missions.
“There are no follow-on activities underway at the moment,”
said the company which was expected to complete the communications satellite system.
While the other company stated that it continued to maintain an “open channel of communications” with Mars One as it is awaiting the green light for the next phase of the program.
And Mars One delivered no other public statement on the current status of its missions since 2013. In January, it announced the winner of a university competition to design an experiment that would fly on the robotic lander. Back then, the organization said that the lander was still scheduled to be launched in 2018, but provided no other details about the project.
Image Source: Mars Society.org
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