Mars One has developed a realistic plan to establish a permanent settlement on Mars. This plan is built upon existing technologies available from proven suppliers. Mars One is not an aerospace company and will not manufacture mission hardware. All equipment will be developed by third party suppliers and integrated in established facilities.
The mission is comprised of the following primary hardware components.
Simulation Outpost: Mars One will build several Earth based simulation outposts for training, technology try-outs and evaluation. The construction technology behind the first simulation outpost will match the simplified level of outpost complexity. The entire outpost will be made of rigid modules - even the “inflatable” volumes.
Launcher: Several rocket launches will be needed to take payloads into Earth orbit and then onto Mars. Payload may be satellites, rovers, cargo or humans. Mars One anticipates using Space X Falcon Heavy, an upgraded version of the Falcon 9, which is in use by Space X currently. The Falcon Heavy is slated to undergo test flights in 2014, granting ample time for fine-tuning prior to the Mars One missions.
Mars Transit Vehicle: Human crew will travel through space for around seven months. The transit vehicle will consist of two propellent stages-- a landing module and transit habitat. On reaching Mars the crew in their Marsuits will descend to the Mars surface in the landing module, leaving their living quarters behind, which is too heavy to land.
Mars Landing capsule: Mars One will secure the landing capsule from one of the experienced suppliers in the world, for example Lockheed Martin or SpaceX. The SpaceX capsule under consideration is a variant of the Dragon Capsule, tested on several occasions since 2010. Similar Landers will be equipped to perform different functions.
- Carrying Life Support Units that generate energy, water and breathable air for the settlement.
- Carrying Supply Unit with food, solar panels, spare parts and other components.
- Carrying Living Units that are outfitted with deployable inflatable habitats.
- Carrying Humans to the surface of Mars
- Carrying Rovers to the surface of Mars
Rovers: Two Rovers will be sent to Mars to set up the outpost before the humans arrive. One of them will explore the surface of Mars in search of the most suitable location for the settlement, for transport of large hardware components and then general assembly. It will be accompanied by the second rover, a trailer used for transporting the landing capsules.
Mars Suit: All astronauts must wear their Marssuits when exposed to the Mars atmosphere. Like those used by the Apollo astronauts on the Moon, Marssuits protect astronauts from extreme temperatures, the very thin, non-breathable atmosphere, and otherwise harmful radiation.
Communications System: The communications system will consist of two communications satellites and Earth ground stations. It will transmit data from Mars to Earth and back.
No new technology developments are required to establish a human settlement on Mars. Mars One has visited major aerospace companies around the world to discuss the requirements, budget and timelines with their engineers and business developers. The current mission plan was composed on the basis of feedback received in these meetings.