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One-Way Mars Mission Will Be World’s Best Reality TV Show

Contestants from around the globe duke it out to become the first humans on Mars. Their life stories are inspiring; their training is fierce, and around every corner is another dramatic love story. Which four will win the chance to settle the Red Planet?

This is Mars One.

It sounds like a pitch for the next scripted network reality show, and that’s not too far from the truth. Netherlands-based company Mars One is serious about colonizing another planet, and this week it launched the application process to find the astronauts who will land on Mars on April 22, 2023.

But behind its imaginative founder and board of accomplished scientists and engineers, Mars One is a marketing company.

The Mars One show will not create new technologies for its mission. Instead, it will rely on existing research from federal space agencies and technology from private companies. Most recently it inked a deal with Paragon to design its life-support systems. And Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp openly admits to courting SpaceX and even cites its technology in his launch plan. (For the record, SpaceX has remained mum on any type of official partnership.)

Lansdorp predicts the mission will cost $6 billion. Mars One, which maintains that it’s a non-profit entity, won’t rely on federal funding for support. Its business plan hinges on advertising. It will televise the 10-year process — from astronaut selection and training, to launch, landing and Martian living.

“[Six billion] sounds like a lot — and it is a lot — but imagine what will happen when the first people land on Mars. Literally every person on the globe will want to see it,” Lansdorp said in Mars One’s first press conference on Monday.
Lansdorp founded Mars One after seeing Olympic Games revenues. “Four billion dollars for four weeks, just because the world is watching,” he said. (Editor’s Note: Total broadcast revenue generated from each major program managed by the International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games was $3.9 billion for 2009-2012.)

“[In 10 years], 4 billion people will have an Internet connection, and it will be the largest audience ever, far larger than the Olympic Games,” Lansdorp said.

While it may sound far-fetched, Lansdorp has a point.

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