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Mars Space Technology

Private Mars One Mission Contracts Lockheed For Exploratory Mission 35

coondoggie writes "Private Mars mission planners said today that Lockheed Martin is on board to build the spacecraft that would land a technology demonstration robot on the Red Planet by 2018. The Mars One group ultimately wants to establish a human outpost on Mars. The lander robot would use technology Lockheed previously built for NASA's Phoenix lander, which touched down on Mars in 2008. The Mars One lander will evaluate the use of the Phoenix design for the Mars One mission and identify any modifications that are necessary to meet future requirements. In addition, the mission would go a long way toward determining the cost and schedule of future missions."
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Private Mars One Mission Contracts Lockheed For Exploratory Mission

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  • by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:27PM (#45655577)

    Because otherwise I am still struggling to understand how Mars One would ever be financially viable.

    • That the mega-rich have mega-toys seems as good an explanation as any.
      • That the mega-rich have mega-toys seems as good an explanation as any.

        Whatever works.

      • That the mega-rich have mega-toys seems as good an explanation as any.

        I assume that gapagos' question, to the degree that it is fully serious, is a reference to the fact that, in stark contrast to all the hip, cool, oh-so-startup space ventures, Lockheed Martin is one of the aerospace contractors that you go to if you want to deliver a project on a nation-state-sized budget, with overruns to be expected...

        While Lockeed is technically private, and only acts like a parasitic appendage of the US government, they aren't exactly a poster child for the 'zOMG! Free Enterprise Inn

        • Let me assure you, my question was sarcastic. I was saying that unless they invested all their money at Bitcoin when it was worth $0.10 and are now "ZOMGS we have so much $$MONEYS$$$" like typical early bitcoin adopters, I don't see how they could possibly have secured enough financing for their project.

        • Lockeed has designed, built, and delivered ground breaking avionic technology for over 50 years. They are the poster child of Free Enterprise Innovation. We will not enter space in any meaningful way until the technology needed to protect and sustain a human being become more mature. We have had the technology to plant someone's ass on Mars ever since the 60's. Supporting someone once they are there is an entirely different animal. The technology could advance rapidly if we wanted to spend unlimited funds i

          • I have nothing against Lockheed's engineering prowess. My point is that the major claim to novelty of the 'OMG Private Space Exploration!!!' proponents has been that exciting, new, innovative, start-up technology would be crazy cheap compared to the 'We are the smiley civilian face of the ICBMs and deep, deep, pockets side of the DoD' style of space travel.

            Lockheed is a lot of things; but crazy cheap is not one of them.

            Seeing a private-space-startup start buying from Lockheed is sort of like seeing a
    • Because otherwise I am still struggling to understand how Mars One would ever be financially viable.

      Really, are you serious? They get funding from all over the place, and use it to develop "stuff for things" and end up living off it that money until the next go round. If all else fails, they sell their research (usually back to) to the military. It's all money in the end; that's what it's all about.

      • They do? Do you have sources? Because all I can find in their list of contributors are a bunch of small businesses that I've never heard of. []
        I bet most of their revenue comes from applicants fees and selling T-shirts.

        • No sources, sadly (I suspect this is by design). But I think I covered that when I said "stuff for things". You covered that when you said "a bunch of small businesses that I've never heard of." We agree.

          high-five brutha
  • I hope they pack a 3D printer with them. Could need to make guns if we come across any martian folk.
    • I hope they pack a 3D printer with them. Could need to make guns if we come across any martian folk.

      But can you use a 3D printer to make a 3D printer?

  • Without money... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:29PM (#45655599) Homepage

    Without funding, this is all just more smoke and mirrors from Mars One - and they don't have the money to even do a decent set of concept studies.

    • Mars One is a very successful enterprise. It's goal was never to actually get to Mars, but to gain publicity by playing on the public's naivity and need to dream about space travel.

    • Or possibly they simply have no interest in doing a decent set of concept studies.

      I suspect that over time, all we will ever hear is that their revenue is going into "contracts" without any actual mission design ever being presented (and without any transparency into their funding and spending). The fact that it has incorporated as a Dutch private foundation apparently means they have no requirement for any public disclosure.

  • Can you imagine.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Havokmon ( 89874 ) <rick AT havokmon DOT com> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:32PM (#45655611) Homepage Journal
    I think if they get enough people up there, and things go to hell, all of a sudden we'll have an 'emergency disaster relief' effort to get supplies Mars - and all of a sudden many of those hurdles we're fretting over (including costs) will become speed bumps.

    It's like a Trial by Fire combined with forced capitulation. Like when a (real) hurricane strikes and (justified) conservative concerns about welfare are overridden by the (relatively) immediate need for support.

    • Personally I always thought Mars Direct was a much better plan. I heard Zubrin talk about it once - seemed reasonable, not dependent on TV ratings, and you already had some proof of concept and a base of operations before you ever launched people at the big red rock. Of course the details is where you keep the devils and I think Murphy would be all over this one.

      I can see a place for heroic leaps for science - including the possibility of a one way trip off the planet, but I'd have my doubts about the sor

    • A Martian outpost is nothing like a hurricane strike. A hurricane strike is a natural disaster and natural disasters can happen anywhere. Volunteering to go on a dangerous mission to Mars is a conscious choice to go in harm's way. I, for one, am not going to foot a billion dollar tax bill because someone's hair brained scheme fell through. There is a point at which a "rescue effort" becomes too costly. To me, Mars is beyond our Search and Rescue obligation. My response to things going wrong on Mars would be

      • Are you saying that you wouldn't try to organize a brutal reality TV event where the colonists fight like animals, using only the airlock/bulkhead control systems and whatever tools can be fashioned into makeshift weapons, to monopolize the rapidly dwindling oxygen supply?
    • Since the best case scenario, with the best case (but untried) technology all ready in place, is more than 40 days to Mars, it'll be too late by the time you get there.
  • by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:35PM (#45655641) Journal
    Put a tree up there! And a webcam! I will totally use it as my background!
  • Uninformed question here, but do they post the designs and technologies in the rovers for the public, or are they classified to any extent? I would think that once you've built one rover, that you could build and deploy a dozen for not *too* much more extra cost. Do those designs enter the public domain once the mission is complete? It would be great to have a portfolio of existing technologies that have proven to work on lunar or Martian environments and mass produce them for launch.
  • I think that you should check out my homepage, see signature.
  • [] provides more useful info. Some interesting quotes regarding costs lifted from the article:

    The contracts are for designs studies only and, at a combined value of only about $340,000, are a long way from a commitment to purchase space hardware.

    Through merchandise sales and donations, Mars One had raised $183,870 as of Oct. 31, according to the company’s website.

    Finally, more than 200,000 people applied to the company’s astronaut program, each of whom paid an application fee ranging from $5 to $75, depending on country of origin.

    The Phoenix craft on which Mars One’s lander will be based cost NASA about $475 million to build.

    The cost of the first crewed launch to Mars will be about $6 billion, Mars One estimates, with subsequent crew launches estimated at about $4 billion each, according to the company’s website.

    If anything this press release reinforces my conviction that these guys lack the right stuff and won't even come remotely close. They raise 180k in merchandising, something in the vicinity of 10mil max in their 409 become a reality TV astronaut scam, and they need $6bill to deliver. This whole thing will fizzle out over a few years without any real or serious progress to their stated goal and the founder

  • Sorry, but I think it's just a myth...

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith