Mars Exchange
What are some of the important technologies that Mars One will use for its mission?

What are some of the important technologies that Mars One will use for its mission?

by Natasha Schön on Friday, 27th November 2015 in Inside 360, People, Arno Wielders, Technology

Arno Wielders, the co-founder and CTO of Mars One, currently divides his time between Mars One and working at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency as a payload study manager for new planetary mission studies. In a previous story, he has provided insight into how the Mars One mission was initially designed. In this story, Arno Wielders talks about some of the technology that Mars One will use.

One of the most important pieces of technology is the landing technology, which already exists. SpaceX, for example, is already able to bring the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket back to the surface of Earth. In order to do that you need a rocket that is active in the supersonic stage, which exists and has been used today. We also know that the rocket is being tested in the same atmosphere conditions that you find on Mars. Therefore, our landing technology is already quite mature from my point of view. Of course, it still needs to be tested with the right capsule design but the technology itself is there. The good thing is that the landing technology and many other designs used by Mars One will be tested again and again in the coming years. For example, the capsule we will use for the cargo flights are also the ones that are being used to land the humans on Mars. So this capsule design will undergo a lot of tests before we actually send people to Mars.

Another important technology is the use of solar energy. Solar energy is easier to implement because we know how it works and we can put large amounts of solar arrays on the surface of Mars. Solar power is also always available and requires a minimum amount of maintenance. Additionally, if you want ample energy that is stable for day and night, a future idea for Mars could be nuclear power. There are many current experiments that are trying to reduce the size of reactors, which would make it easier to transport. A very small nuclear power station can provide 1 Megawatt of energy, which would be ample energy for the four or even eight people living on Mars.

A third important technology will be local production technologies on Mars and the use of 3D printing. 3D printing would allow future martians to build components and entire habitats. However, this type of technology is not ready to be implemented. We do know of existing rocket companies who are successfully using 3D printers to create rocket engines. However, to go from creating engines to an entire settlement is a big step.

Additional technologies which are on the verge of being implemented are high bandwidth laser communications, miniaturisation of electronics, opto-mechanical systems and the software needed to control the main functions of the habitat.

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