Mars One, a private organization dedicated to sending humans to Mars, announced they will begin construction of a martian simulator capable of human occupation. The facility will be used to train astronauts, and to acclimate space travelers to conditions on the Red Planet.
Potential astronauts for a trip to Mars are being asked to volunteer for one-way missions to the Red Planet. These crews could lift off within a decade, headed toward Mars.
"Finally getting started on the outpost project is incredibly exciting and I am looking forward to replacing images with real life hardware. I think a lot of people are looking forward to opening the hatches of the outpost modules and taking the next step in the mission. I know I am," Kristian von Bengtson, project member, said.
Mars One plans to eventually establish a series of the simulators, located around the world, allowing the company to train crews and test equipment. The first facility will not be equipped with life support systems when it first goes online, but will be upgraded later to have those systems.
Managers of the Mars One program are still debating the best location for the first simulator. Chile is one of the locations to become home to the new facility. That country is the location of several tests of equipment and systems headed toward the red planet.
Over 200,000 people applied to become among the first humans to walk on the face of Mars. The company has winnowed that list down to 1,058 potential space travelers. When the mission launches, between 20 and 40 people will be on board, ready to begin a new life on a new world.
One of the most important tests the facilities will be able to run will be on the actual candidates for travel. The simulator will test the ability of potential astronauts to hold up under the rigors of living in close quarters with several other people for long periods of time.
Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology are working with Mars One, designing a robotic lander and communications satellite, meant to reach Mars in 2018.
Mission plans for the trip to Mars include cargo missions to the red planet, along with a pair of rovers. Each of these missions will take another step toward preparing for the human mission to the planet, currently scheduled to arrive in 2025.
Plans to build the new facility were announced in an email from the Dutch space developers to editors at Popular Science.
The Mars training facilities are the first in a long series of steps for Mars One, as it prepares to launch the first humans to the red planet.