One of Mars One’s main challenges is securing enough funding to move the mission forward at the pace as presented in the Roadmap. Mars One’s next steps as presented below can only be taken once enough funding is in place.
Mars One's mission design is currently in the early mission concept phase, or as called in space development terms: Phase A. The top level requirements for the mission have been identified and discussed with established aerospace companies. Possible solutions were proposed and discussed after which a baseline mission concept was defined and rough cost figures were discussed.
In this phase, suppliers with relevant experience will be contracted to perform conceptual design studies for every major (sub)-system required for the permanent settlement mission. These studies demand 500 to 2500 man-hours each leading to a comprehensive technical concept design of the various components of the Mission to Mars. The Mars One mission design will be updated according to the results of the conceptual design studies and changes will also be included when technology matures further. Phase A will result in a firm baseline design and improved cost figures.
The next phase of development will be the detailed design of all elements needed to safely bring humans to Mars (Phase B). These detailed designs and further improved cost figures will allow Mars One to move the mission forward to Phases C and D in which all elements are built, manufactured, integrated and tested, and launched to Mars. This should lead to full system readiness on the surface of Mars, giving the green light for the first crew of four astronauts to start their journey to Mars.
Mars One’s first Astronaut Selection Program started in 2013 with the first of four selection rounds. The first two rounds have already been successfully completed: one hundred Round 3 candidates remain. Mars One is currently preparing for Round Three and Four. The design for the next rounds is ready and the next steps are determining the locations and dates, expanding the team of selection and training specialists, and logistics.
From the first selection series, up to six groups of four will become full time employees of Mars One, after which they will start training for the mission. Parts of the training will take place in Earth based simulation outposts. Whole teams and individuals might be selected out during training if they prove unsuitable for the mission.
New selection programs will start regularly, providing aspiring Mars settlers new opportunities to enroll in Mars One’s astronaut selection program. The first round consists of an online registration and application. It is currently not possible to apply, Mars One expects to reopen applications for its astronaut selection program in 2018.
Since Mars One’s launch in 2011, about US$ 1 million has been raised, mainly through donations, sales of merchandise, private investments, astronaut applications, sponsorships & partnerships, and speaking engagements. This has been spent on building a small core team, the first conceptual design studies performed by Lockheed Martin and Paragon Space Development Corporation, developing and executing the first rounds of the Astronaut Selection Program, public outreach, and operational costs. In December 2016, Mars One Ventures, the commercial arm of Mars One went public at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, enabling supporters to 'own' part of the historic venture.
For more information about Mars One’s mission progress and accomplishments, please take a look at Mars One’s press releases.