Monday, June 29, 2015

Paving Way for Mars Colonization

Credit: MarsPolar

In order to send first human to Mars, plenty of pioneering activities must be taken. It’s a journey on an unprecedented scale in the history of human spaceflight, but like any other voyage, even the longest one, starts with a small, seemingly insignificant step. That’s what MarsPolar, a new international venture does recently to prepare for a challenging and bumpy road to the Red Planet.

The project, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is constantly building its team and expands its advisedly-built web of future partners and sponsors. The reason is that a demanding trip to Mars would require vast human resources. Needless to say interdisciplinary specialists would be needed with a broad knowledge in various space-related fields. Therefore, MarsPolar starts building its network of supporters concentrating on small companies, specializing in highly-required areas. The project’s founder and CEO, Arteum Goncharov emphasizes that unlike the famed Mars One organization, his venture has more potential regarding potential partners without the entire media buzz the Dutch company always had.

“At the beginning, we have more scientifically and practically useful partners than Mars One,” Goncharov points out. “They don't want to cooperate with smaller, specialized companies.”

The list of the companies supporting Goncharov’s project opens with the European Space Foundation, which promotes science education in schools and supports space related research. The foundation is also responsible for the organization of the European Rover Challenge (ERC), a competition to design and build the best Mars rover. Mars Polar is going to use the contest to contract a rover team, successful in the competition.

“There are so many teams [in the ERC], that construct great rovers, such as Magma 2 and Project Scorpio,” Goncharov told astrowatch.net.

MarsPolar CEO revealed also the cooperation with Space Seed project, a “digital afterlife management system” as the company describes itself on its website. Their goal is to create genetically-engineered and radiation-resistant bacteria, which will be a part of the human civilization memory. These bacteria could be someday sent to Mars or other planet when it will patiently wait for the best environment condition of germination and wake up as an organic life. Li Yu, an interdisciplinary researcher and designer from Switzerland, is the project’s leader.

Current list of supporters of the MarsPolar project includes a helicopter flight school in Canary Islands. “Top Helicopteros” could offer flight education, very important in astronaut training, according to Goncharov.

“The head of the flight school is our team member - Ramon Garcia Meano, police officer and flight instructor from Spain,” Goncharov noted.

Building its group of supporters, Mars Polar is aware that the coming months will be crucial for the project. On July 1, the venture starts its crowdfunding campaign aiming to acquire desired funding for further activities. Next step is to create the company’s center in Dubai. MarsPolar plans to send the first rover to Mars between 2018 and 2022 and targets 2029 for establishing a human colony.

This timeline will be strictly dependent on the outcome of the crowdfunding campaign. It’s hard to predict the amount of money that the team will manage to raise, but at least $100.000 will be enough to build the base and take first steps towards contracting new partners or hiring engineers and scientists. Any amount collected over the estimated minimum goal would push the project forward to sending the first colonists to Mars.

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