Mars One Project Offers Public Lottery For One-Way Trips To Red Planet

By Mo Mozuch on July 26, 2012 6:29 PM EDT

photo:Mars One
photo:Mars One

Dutch company Mars One, who has been making headlines with its brash $6 billion Mars colonization reality TV project, announced they will hold a lottery to select 40 people who will get the chance to win tickets to be among the first to colonize Mars.  The catch:  one-way tickets only. This stipulation is calling some to call the project a "suicide mission" for the astronauts involved, but notable space experts such as Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft publicly support the concept.  

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The costs and risks of a spacecraft returning to Earth from Mars are too great, but a one-way trip, though radical to some, greatly reduces the complexity of the mission. "A return journey would demand launching techniques and maneuvers that have not been properly investigated, and would double, triple, quadruple the price," said t' Hooft on the Mars One website.

The 40 winners would head to a desert simulation for three years, and only 10 will be selected for the initial launch. Mars One will also select 30 other crewmembers to be part of the initial set of spaceflights to Mars. Private tickets are also available for $500,000.  Each astronaut must agree to live the rest of their lives on Mars, as no return trips are in the works. ""In theory, it is less complex to get people back to Earth once you have a sustainable settlement on Mars," Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp told FoxNews.com.

The Mars One colonists will receive regular support, according to Lansdorp. "There will be a habitat waiting for them, and we'll start sending four people every two years," he said. "However, our astronauts will be offered a one-way trip. We have no idea when it will be possible to offer return tickets."

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