Mars One will take specific steps to ensure that the Mars environment (which we will study, and on which we will depend) will not be harmed. The Mars base will be forced to recycle just about everything, and pay close attention to its energy use and minimize the leakage of materials and energy. Nutrients are scarce on Mars. They either need to be imported from Earth, or extracted from the ground or atmosphere. Solar panels, which will also be launched from Earth, will generate the settlement's electricity. All of this means that a Mars resident will have a much smaller ecological footprint than that of the average person on Earth.
In addition, the development and operation of the settlement itself can greatly improve our sustainability efforts on Earth. The necessity to recycle everything on Mars will provide a high-profile boost to our recycling industry, as will the demand for lightweight solar panel technology. New methods of cultivating crops and growing plants on Mars can also teach us on Earth a great deal about how to improve our environment from experiences on another planet.
Mars One will take the required actions to prevent environmental contamination caused by importing Earth life (humans and their companion organisms). Mars One has begun discussions with the ICSU Committee on Space Research’s (COSPAR’s) panel on planetary protection and the COSPAR panel on exploration to identify the measures that need to be taken with respect to prevent this contamination. Prof. Dr. John D. Rummel of the COSPAR panel of planetary protection is one of our advisers. Based on discussions with these panels, Mars One will acquire the necessary systems and take the required and necessary actions to protect Mars.