Skip To Content

    13 Things You Need To Know About The Human Mission To Mars

    Would you leave Earth forever? Meet a candidate willing to go on a one-way trip to the Red Planet.

    1. The Mars One mission is to build a human settlement on Mars.

    The Dutch not-for-profit foundation's blueprints, simplified: Select a crew by 2015 and train them until the first crew launch in 2024.

    In the meantime, the nuts and bolts of the settlement will be shipped over, and a rover will set up the supplies before humans arrive.

    2. After over 200,000 applicants, Lt. Heidi Beemer, 25, is one of 705 candidates left.

    3. The biggest question: Why?

    While the Curiosity rover putters around Mars to find evidence of life, Beemer's motivation is similar: exploration.

    Her heart was set on an interplanetary visit since the fateful day her dad showed her a newspaper with a panorama from the Mars Pathfinder's voyage. Since then she's collected backgrounds in chemistry and geology — and leadership experience being an officer in the army, like at Utah's Mars Desert Research Station above — and has conquered every outdoors activity under the sun.

    That is, on Earth. "My reasons for going to Mars are very scientific. We have a lot of questions that we can’t really answer by just sending robots to Mars."

    4. The trip is arduous.

    The trek is around seven months with only freeze-dried or packaged food, similar to these packets used aboard shuttles.

    Instead of showers, the astronauts will use wet towelettes. The noise from the machinery will be constant, and there will be three-hour daily workouts to preserve muscle mass.

    5. It also means saying good-bye to your friends, family, and Earth.

    6. There's no flight home.

    7. But there are organizations working on getting the technology to do it.

    8. The flight also includes the looming threat of radiation.

    Solar flares are massive explosions in the sun's atmosphere that emit powerful bursts of radiation and as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT.

    Harmful radiation can't reach us because of the Earth's atmosphere, but in space, the crew would have to huddle in an even smaller sheltered area of the rocket. A return trip would increase your chances of a dose, says Beemer, and that risk is something the organization is taking seriously.

    9. The settlement will be up and ready before humans get there.

    Several rocket launches will deliver necessities, like a communications satellite, rovers, and cargo like inflatable living units, food, and solar panels. Two rovers will then be deployed to find the best area for a settlement and to set up shop.

    10. But how will they breathe? Or take showers?

    11. Four astronauts will land first.

    12. The problems that arise can help us Earthlings too.

    13. And if the Mars One mission succeeds, it'll make history.

    Keep up with Lt. Heidi Beemer on Facebook or Twitter.