Establishing the first human settlement on Mars is the defining moment of the 21st century and the most exciting event in our lifetime. Mars One's revenue model is based on the media value of that adventure, intellectual property rights, several other business cases, investments, and donations.
Mars One receives donations from over 100 countries every month. At this moment, the revenue generated from donations is not enough to finance the mission but with every step Mars One takes and with every contract that is closed, more people donate and the average amount goes up. We expect that revenues from donations can contribute substantially to our mission by the time our first unmanned mission lands on Mars.
The mission to Mars will primarily be financed through investments. In March 2013, Mars One closed a very successful investment round and is currently in the closing stages of a much larger investment round. The next step for Mars One will be a listing on a stock exchange to enable supporters to 'own' part of the mission to Mars. Investors are investing in Mars One because they believe in a return on their investment. That return on investment will come from several revenues streams:
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, everyone who had access to a TV watched it happen. Mars One provides an even grander event – the colonization of Mars – in the current media era, where unique content is a high value asset and about four billion people will be connected to the Internet in 2027.
The Olympic Games in London, which lasted only three weeks, yielded more than 4.5B US$ from broadcasting rights and sponsorships (see table below). Mars One offers the opportunity to take the world on the greatest exploration mission. The revenues from media exposure are estimated at 10 Olympic Games between today and the first year after human landing.
Most of the media revenues are expected around the human launch and landing in 2026 and 2027. Therefore, investments are very important for financing the mission today since the media revenues will come much later.
Intellectual property rights
Mars One is not an aerospace company and will therefore rely on established aerospace suppliers to build its systems. While no new inventions are needed to send humans to Mars, designing, building, and testing the hardware for our mission will result in new intellectual properties, for example in recycling and growing food with less water and energy.
Mars One Corporation / Mars One Foundation
Mars One consists of a not for profit foundation and a for profit corporation.
This split is important: the foundation can rally the support from hundreds of millions of people from all over the world, it will own the outpost on Mars, and it will train the crews. The corporation makes it possible to finance the mission through investments. It holds the exclusive media and intellectual property rights to the mission and will give the investors a good return on investment by monetizing those rights.
As a comparison, the revenues from sponsorships and broadcasting rights for the Olympic games can be found in the table below. In this table you can see how much revenue is generated by the Olympics per four year period. Each four year period includes three weeks for the Summer Olympics, and three weeks for the Winter Olympics.