Mars One

Mars One announces ten potential university payloads to fly to Mars in 2018

Amersfoort, 1st December 2014 - Mars One is proud to present the ten Mars One University Competition finalists eligible to fly to Mars. One of these ten payloads will receive the once in a lifetime opportunity to fly on Mars One’s first unmanned Lander mission to Mars in 2018. For the first time ever the public will be able to decide which payload receives the extraordinary opportunity to fly to Mars.

The ten remaining projects from an initial 35 submissions were submitted by diverse universities worldwide. In order to get this far, the payload proposals needed to meet all requirements as described by Mars One supplier Lockheed Martin. Mars One community members, social media followers, and the general public will have the opportunity to vote on and select the winning payload. Voting opportunities for the public will be opened in the first weeks of December, 2014. Voting submission will be accepted until December 31st, 2014. The winning university payload will be announced on January 5th, 2015.

The winning payload needs to be feasible and meet the requirements and restrictions as outlined in the Proposal Information Package (PIP) and on-going discussions with Lockheed Martin, who will build the 2018 lander. Additionally, if in any case the winning team can not perform or adjust to additional requirements the runner-up will be chosen instead.

Arno Wielders, Co-founder & CTO of Mars One said, "These ten final projects are unique and creative and we are very happy with the payload proposals these teams have presented. It would be highly interesting to see each and every one of these projects being launched to Mars. Now it is up to the public to decide which project they would like to have on Mars."

Here are the ten finalists in the Mars One University competition with a brief payload description.

Cyano Knights - Generating O2 out of CO2 (Germany)

This project aim is to change a small amount of the 95% carbon dioxide Mars atmosphere into oxygen with the power of cyanobacteria. The Cyano Knights team would like to transport cyanobacteria to Mars that will deliver oxygen made out of their photosynthesis of carbon dioxide. The activities of the cyanobacteria will be monitored in different environmental conditions on plates in quarantined boxes in order to determine the best working solution for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars. Read more: Cyano Knights - Generating O2 out of CO2.

HELENA - Oxygen Production & Art Time Capsule (Australia)

The HELENA team plans to demonstrate oxygen production from water in the Martian soil through electrolysis. HELENA’s primary science payload is an electrolysis module housed in a custom made chassis unit designed to demonstrate key life-support technology; producing oxygen from water extracted out of the Martian soil. Read more: HELENA - Oxygen Production & Art Time Capsule.

IHISS: In situ Habitat Improvement through Soil Strengthening (USA)

The IHISS team will test in situ materials as a shield for the habitats on Mars. Soil will be collected with the soil acquisition payload and injected with a polyester resin in order to develop a new composite material. The composite material will be moved over a series of sensors which will be activated to obtain the control data, average radiation amount, and average temperature cycle. With the data collected from the experiment, IHISS will determine how useful a shield of this composite material will be for the human habitats on Mars. Read more: IHISS: In situ Habitat Improvement through Soil Strengthening.

MARA-DS: Material Radiation Degradation Study (USA)

The MARA-DS team designed a project to record the energy and impact events of Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) and Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) flux at the surface of Mars. The payload will establish a baseline control for the radiation environment while also measuring the massed radiation flux through the potential habitat structural material of JSC Mars-1: a Martian regolith simulant. The information collected will help plan for protective Martian habitat structures. Read more: MARA-DS: Material Radiation Degradation Study.

Mars Micro-Greenhouse (United Kingdom)

The Mars Micro-Greenhouse team intends to bring a small pressurised greenhouse utilising an aeroponic system to Mars. The team will try to demonstrate the ability to grow small plants with atmosphere obtained from the Martian environment, with a minimum of material imported from Earth. This will be demonstrated by growing lettuce in the growth chamber of the payload using an aeroponic system, obtaining a supply of carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere. Read more: Mars Micro-Greenhouse.

MIDDAS: Mars Ice Deposit Detection by Application of Seismology (USA)

The MIDDAS team intends to locate the presence of ice-water in a vertical column of regolith beneath the 2018 Mars lander. This will be done by using a seismic source on the Martian surface to allow sensors to record velocity changes in acoustic seismic waves that are transmitted through the shallow subsurface and are reflected back to the sensors. The payload will use this data to detect the presence of ice-water. Read more: MIDDAS: Mars Ice Deposit Detection by Application of Seismology.

PECR: PhotoElectroChemicalReduction of CO2 (India)

The PECR team aims to convert CO2 to a useful state by activation/reduction. Photoelectrochemical and photoelectrocatalytic methods involving p-type semiconductor electrodes will be used for the sequestration of CO2. Additionally, solar energy will be used for the conversion. The project can be considered an artificial photosynthetic process. Read more: PECR: PhotoElectroChemicalReduction of CO2.

Seed (Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands)

The Seed team intends to grow the first plant on Mars. More specifically, the team would like to grow Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings in a container that includes growth medium, water delivery system, carbon filtering systems, light stimulation, and a small photographic camera. The mechanism is fully automatic and the available energy should be enough to maintain a proper temperature for plant growth. Read more: Seed.

S.P.A.R.C.: Sensing Pressure and Atmospheric Research Console (USA)

The S.P.A.R.C. team proposes to observe Martian weather patterns. Dust devils, dust storms, and clouds will be videotaped, and data such as pressure and temperature will be recorded from the atmosphere. From the visual and atmospheric data, it will hopefully be possible to characterize Martian weather patterns. Read more: S.P.A.R.C: Sensing Pressure and Atmospheric Research Console.

Urine Greenbox: Urine to Water with Energy Recycle (USA)

The Urine Greenbox team aims to evaluate the reliability and operation of a system to convert urine into clean water and hydrogen. Project Urine Greenbox consists of using synthetic urine to produce hydrogen/energy and clean water. The process uses a urea and urine electrolysis and will include the capability to measure the amount of clean water produced, hydrogen produced, and basic sensors to test the quality of the water. Read more: Urine Greenbox: Urine to Water with Energy Recycle.

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Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation that will establish permanent human life on Mars. Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies. Mars One’s mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide. The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations. It is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars.