Science

NASA chief: You can’t fund a private Mars mission. Mars One: Watch us

mars-one-nasa
Image Credit: Mars One

Yesterday, NASA chief Brian Muirhead told Black Hat attendees that while he loves the idea of crowdfunded space flight, he doesn’t have much confidence in commercial missions to Mars and their ability to finance the expedition.

It was a direct blow at Mars One, the mission by Netherlands-based Mars One Foundation that aims to put non-scientist, non-engineer astronauts on Mars permanently to establish a colony.

“That is way beyond our capability to do today,” Muirhead said about Mars One.

Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp and his team fired back today with a movie trailer for a 54-minute film, One Way Astronaut. The film tells the story of the Mars One vision and several laypeople who long desperately to make their lives on the red planet.

You can stream or download the film for $3 or $5, respectively.

A movie doesn’t seem like such a great leap for mankind. However, media is one of the main ways Landsdorp & Co. plan to cover the high costs of space exploration.

“Funding it will be one of the bigger challenges,” Lansdorp admitted in a recent interview with VentureBeat.

“But with the overall business case of financing a mission with revenues from broadcasting, we have no doubt this is a profitable business case,” he continued.

Pointing to the Olympics, a massive and hugely expensive undertaking with no obvious revenue generation built in, Lansdorp indicated that live-streaming video and other media from the Mars colony would make for riveting (and highly sponsor-able) material. Making a movie about the mission is just a small demo of what the end game would be for Mars One media.

Saying the movie is “a must-watch” for commercial-space pessimists, Lansdorp said today via email, “A lot more will come, but we will rely also on donations, sponsorships, and we have very good discussions with some investment consortia going on, but all still preliminary.”

The Mars One project began in January 2013. Its call for astronaut applicants initially saw more than 78,000 would-be space travelers sign up.