Amersfoort, 5th January 2015 - Mars One is proud to present the winner of the Mars One University Competition: Seed. The Seed team is an important step closer to sending their payload to Mars. The winning payload will fly to the surface of Mars on Mars One’s first unmanned lander mission. Seed was selected by popular vote from an initial 35 university proposals and this is the first time the public has decided which payload receives the extraordinary opportunity to land on Mars.
“We were generally very pleased with the high quality of the university proposals and the amount of effort associated with preparing them,” said Arno Wielders, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Mars One. “Seed itself is uniquely inspiring since this would be the first time a plant will be grown on Mars.”
The Winning Team - Seed aims to germinate the first seed on Mars in order to contribute to the development of life support systems and provide a deeper understanding of plant growth on Mars. The payload will consist of an external container, which provides protection from the harsh environment, and interior container, which will hold several seed cassettes. The seeds will stem from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is commonly used in space plant studies. After landing, the seeds inside the cassette will be provided with conditions for germination and seedling growth. The growth will then be recorded using images transmitted back to Earth.
"We are really pleased to be the selected project among so many excellent ideas. We are thrilled to be the first to send life to Mars! This will be a great journey that we hope to share with you all!" said Teresa Araújo, Seed team member.
Seed consists of four bioengineering students from the University of Porto and two PhD students from MIT Portugal and the University of Madrid. The team is supported by Dr. Maria Helena Carvalho, plant researcher at IBMC and Dr. Jack van Loon, from the VU Medical Center, VU-University in Amsterdam. Seed benefits from scientific and technical support from several advisers, whose expertise range from biological systems to spacecraft development and validation. Read more about Seed here.
An in-depth technical analysis of the winning proposal will be conducted to ensure that the winner has a feasible plan, that their payload can be integrated on the Mars lander, and that the experiment will be carried out in compliance with the current COSPAR planetary protection policy. Mars One and its advisers will contribute to the analysis by thoroughly and critically examining the Seed proposal.
If Seed runs into any issues regarding feasibility or can not stick to the schedule, Mars One will fall back on the runner ups of the university competition. The second and third placed projects are Cyano Knights and Lettuce on Mars.
About Mars One
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.