Mars One

Designing a spacesuit for Mars - Independent Conceptual Design Assessment by Paragon

Amersfoort, November 15, 2016 – Mars One® is pleased to present the initial Conceptual Design Assessment of Mars One's Surface Exploration Suit (SES) by Paragon Space Development Corporation®. It includes the soft-goods and hardware associated with the Pressure Suit and the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) that provides the necessary functions for humans to survive in the pressure suit when outside the habitat.

The SES will enable the settlers to work outside of the habitat and explore the surface of Mars. In the report, design drivers such as the ability to operate under the extremely challenging Mars surface conditions are identified, along with a set of requirements including those related to functional, performance and human interface. “The SES functional baseline pressure suit is derived from the most recent pressure suit development work conducted by ILC Dover, and the baseline Portable Life Support System makes maximal use of local Mars resources (carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and oxygen derived from subsurface water ice) to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the crew member,” said Barry Finger, Paragon Chief Engineer and Director of Life Support Systems.

The described architecture is intended to define a starting point for the development of the complete integrated SES solution. Significant work must be undertaken to develop robust, reliable, maintainable and long-lived hardware solutions that operate in the Mars environment – and especially with regards to the adverse effects of Mars regolith and dust on the SES. It is essential that the SES solution is robust with regards to interchangeability of components and the ability to accommodate the crew’s varied anthropometric range (i.e. size variation) in order to keep spares mass and volume to practical levels. The establishment of common parts, modules and interfaces across the entire Mars One Architecture will maximize interchangeability and the potential to recover from system design deficiencies in new and unexpected ways as the mission duration increases.

Mars One contracted Paragon due to their specialization in engineering and manufacturing spacecraft life support, thermal control and portable life support systems. Paragon’s experience includes five years of development work on a NASA exploration EVA space suit, and the successful manufacture, integration, and launch a stratospheric space suit system that was used for Alan Eustace’s record breaking near-space dive from over 135,000 feet.

"It’s been a pleasure to work with Paragon on this study, as they really understand the challenges and criticalities of humans performing and working on the surface of Mars and how this translates into an optimal Surface Exploration Suit design. The study resulted in an in-depth requirements analysis on what it takes to develop the SES, taking into account the need for ease of maintenance required by the Mars settlers," said Arno Wielders, Mars One’s CTO and Co-founder.

This initial assessment of the SES is intended to establish the functional baseline for the final SES design and development project. Additional SES subsystems such as the air lock, mobility vehicles, and charging/maintenance stations must be developed and defined as well to adequately define the complete SES system-level starting point. “This Mars One Surface Exploration Suit conceptual design assessment builds off of decades of work conducted by NASA, its contractor base and the larger pressure suit community, and the full flight development effort will require the continued infusion of knowledge, experience, and expertise from this unique and highly specialized community,” said Grant Anderson, President and CEO of Paragon. Mars One will use this initial conceptual design assessment to update and further develop its mission design of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars.

The full report is available here: Mars One Surface Exploration Suit (SES) Conceptual Design Assessment.

About Mars One®
Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Before carefully selected and trained crews will depart to Mars, several unmanned missions will be completed, establishing a habitable settlement waiting for the first astronauts to arrive. The Mars One crews will go to Mars not to simply visit, but to live, explore, and create a second home for humanity. The first men and women to go to Mars are going there to stay.

For more information about Mars One, please visit

About Paragon Space Development Corporation®
Paragon is a premier provider of environmental controls for extreme and hazardous environments. They design, build, test and operate life support and thermal control products and systems for astronauts, contaminated water divers, and extreme environment adventurers, as well as for unmanned space and terrestrial applications.

For more information about Paragon, please visit