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Dutch space venture wants to colonise Mars by 2023

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An artistic image showing human settlement of Mars in 2023. Photo: MarsOne.

LONDON (PTI): NASA's road map for reaching Mars may be in flux, but a private Dutch space firm has announced it wants to colonise Mars and plans to send four astronauts to the Red Planet to start operations by 2022.

MarsOne, founded by a Dutch energy entrepreneur, claimed that a new crew of four will join every two years as the explorers build their settlement, and that by 2033 there will be 20 people living on Mars.

But the astronauts, it said, have to be committed to the project as they will never be able to come back to Earth, the Daily Mail reported.

The company has already been in talks with independent space suppliers such as Space X, which recently launched the first privately owned rocket to the Space Station.

MarsOne, which is backed by Nobel prize winning physicist Gerard't Hooft and also Big Brother co-director Paul Romer, aims to start training astronauts next year, and will turn the selection and training programme into a "media event" similar to a reality show.

"We see this as a journey that belongs to us all, and it is for this reason that we will make every step one that we take together," the company said.

"This will also be our way to finance the mission: the mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever! The entire world will be able to watch and help with decisions as the teams of settlers are selected, follow their extensive training and preparation for the mission and of course observe their settling on Mars once arrived.

"The emigrated astronauts will share their experiences with us as they build their new home, conduct experiments and explore Mars."

Mars One's plan has been in development since 2011.

Meanwhile, Big Brother creator Romer said: "When the Mars One founders first approached me, asking whether they could speak to me about a mission to Mars, my first response was 'these people are crazy. What can they do that NASA's can't?"

"That conversation made it clear to me, however. They think so creatively, and outside of the box and the concept of a 'one-way' mission is both outrageous and exciting.

"These aspects are what brought me to the idea of making the mission the biggest media event in the world. Reality meets talent show with no ending and the whole world watching.

Now there's a pitch!"


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