Mars One has developed a realistic plan to establish a settlement on Mars by 2023. 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 fully equipped mission is comprised of the following, primary hardware components:
- Launcher: This is the rocket used to take payloads* from Earth launch into Earth orbit or to Mars. Mars One anticipates use of the Space X Falcon Heavy, an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 which is in use by Space X now. The Falcon Heavy is slated to undergo test flights in 2013, granting ample time for fine-tuning prior to the Mars One missions which begin in 2016.
- Mars Transit Vehicle: This is responsible for transporting the astronauts to Mars, and consists of two propellent stages, a landing module and living quarters.
- Lander: Mars One anticipates use of a variant of the SpaceX Dragon capsule, first tested in 2010. This is the same vehicle which successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) in May of 2012. The lander Mars One requires will be slightly larger than the current Dragon. The Lander will be used for 5 functions:
- Life Support Unit: A Lander that contains the systems for the generation of energy, water and breathable air within the settlement.
- Supply Unit: A Lander that contains food, spare parts and other smaller components.
- Living Unit: This Unit is a Lander that is outfitted with a special inflatable section. After reaching the surface of Mars, this allows it to create a large living space for humans.
- Human Lander: This is the unit which carries the astronauts to the surface of Mars.
- Rover Lander: This is the unit which carries the rovers to the surface of Mars.
- Rover: The Rover is a semi-autonomous, solar-electric powered exploration and construction vehicle used to explore the surface of Mars in search of the most suitable location for the settlement, for transport of large hardware components (in a tractor-like fashion), and then general assembly.
- Mars Suit: All astronauts must wear their Mars Suits when exposed to the Mars atmosphere. Like those used by the Apollo astronauts on the Moon, Mars Suits protect astronauts from extreme temperatures, the very thin, non-breathable atmosphere, and otherwise harmful radiation.
- Communications system: The communications system transmits the video streams from Mars to the communication satellite in Mars orbit and back to Earth.
* Payloads are the items delivered by the Launch Vehicle into Earth or Mars orbit, or to the surface of Mars. Mars One payloads may be a communications satellite, transit vehicle, propellent stage, or a Lander.
Mars One has visited several major aerospace companies around the world to discuss our plan and the hardware components that we need to implement the plan. For each component we have found at least one potential supplier. We have visited those companies and have received letters of interest from them. For more information about these companies, see Suppliers.