Our goal is to place humans on Mars in 2023. Even as a not-for-profit foundation, Mars One needs revenues to send crews and cargo to Mars.
The business model
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, the whole world watched. In 2023, about four billion people will have access to video images. We expect that virtually every one of them will watch.
Because of the grand nature of this expedition, not only the launch and landing will draw large audiences. In 2013, Mars One will start the selection of the first crews that will train to be able to go to Mars. Unlike the astronaut selection processes at the space agencies, Mars One will open up this procedure for everyone to see. And not only to watch: after Mars One experts have eliminated unsuitable candidates, the audience will have a say in who will be the first humans on Mars. Mars One will make the selection of the first ambassadors to another planet a democratic process!
People are interested in a manned mission to Mars; Mars One uses this interest to finance the mission. A big audience has a lot of value.
In this table you can see how much revenue is generated by the Olympics per four year period. Each four year period includes three weeks for the Summer Olympics, and three weeks for the Winter Olympics.
Public interest will be less extensive prior to launch, but selection procedures and astronaut training in the analog station in the desert will also deliver very interesting content. The mere fact that humans are going to Mars will attract a huge and devoted audience.
Over the long run, there is no doubt that the revenues of broadcasting rights and sponsorship can finance the human mission to Mars. The challenge for Mars One lies in convincing potential sponsors and investors that the human mission to Mars is technically feasible. This will be achieved by completing technical milestones, starting with conceptual design studies by the candidate suppliers. Every technical milestone will further increase the feasibility of the Mars mission and will be used to convince additional investors and sponsors.
How long will this business model work?
Human exploration of Mars does not end when the first crew lands - it is only just starting. Humans will live on a second planet and will slowly start exploring a whole new planet. On Earth, we will watch and learn how they succeed in building a new life on a new planet. More and more candidates will aspire to fly on one of the next missions.
In the case of Mars One, the audience will experience life on Mars in a much more direct, engaging and comprehensive way, through our astronaut's eyes. All their experiences and discoveries will be as new and fascinating for us as they are for the astronauts. They will not just be ‘doing their job’, they will be living their lives, complete with all the emotions and struggles that are part of normal everyday life; but they will be doing that in the most exciting habitable place in the solar system, complete with its own completely unique challenges. It is the human aspect that makes our Mars mission so interesting for people.
As this is the greatest voyage humanity can embark upon, as these are the ambassadors of Earth that have been democratically chosen, as this is our future, people will watch updates from Mars and strive to be on the new teams for decades to come.