where this idea stands, we are producing a Colony Planning Session with some of
the best minds in current colony thinking, the space industry,
extreme engineering, business development, media and entertainment.
two-day Session will identify not only what is required to achieve a first
landing and Colony creation, but as importantly what is the business planning
needed to achieve this goal. We look for a realistic grounding for this idea
and also intelligent discussion about how to make it happen.
presenters will speak on, and take questions relating to, Colony development in
the following broad areas:
Session is planned for a weekend in early November 2012 and will take place in
a San Francisco, CA hotel. Speakers, sessions and attendance information
(including webcast & hotel data) will be provided in September.
Sounds Interesting - Can I Attend?
Pass - Colony Planning Session: We invite as many Kickstarters as possible to
attend the Colony Planning Session via a private webcast – please see the
sidebar for Orbit Level thank you gifts!
Access Pass - Colony Planning Session: If interested in attending in-person, we
are inviting a small audience to watch the presentations and participate in the
weekend. Please see the sidebar for First Landing Level thank you gifts!
Miss the eBook - Colony Plan Alpha!
What will it take to establish a Colony on Mars? Just how practical is a privately funded approach? Colony Plan Alpha will provide fascinating reporting on the Colony Planning Session. From first speaker to last presentation, this ebook records it all and advances our understanding of what is necessary to achieve a permanent human presence on Mars.
Pad Level (and higher) patrons receive copies of Colony Plan Alpha as thank you
February 2013 for popular e-readers.
Needs You to Make History!
happens without your patronage. Your financial support is important (we can’t
do it without you) but frankly it’s also about the numbers of supporters as
well. Because, if we have both a well-reasoned plan and large numbers backing
it, the Colony will merit closer consideration when serious early stage
investments are being made.
believe that going to Mars is important, this is a way to make that statement!
And, just perhaps, be an important part of history on two worlds.
We want to acknowledge your patronage with different Colony related thank-you gifts. Some of these are be
tangible like attendance at the Colony Planning Session or receiving copies of Colony
Plan Alpha. Some will only happen if this Session gives birth to the Colony - such as your name on the First
Lander or going to a blow out viewing party at
the First Colonist Launch - but what cool possibilities!
ask for your patronage and please see our FAQs below – they may cover a
lot of your questions. But if you would like to reach out then please do so, we
welcome your questions and thoughts! Please send your email to MarsColonyProject@gmail.com.
FAQ for the Mars Colony Project!
the point, why colonize Mars? Ask Mars colonization supporters and you will
find a number of diverse and compelling reasons – because humans have always
been explorers and settlers and this effort ranks among the greatest
adventures in history, because human life is too important to risk it all on
one planet, because of the technological and educational spin-offs, because we
are founding a new civilization on a new world. We frankly like all of the
not let NASA, the ESA, CNSA or Roscosmos explore and colonize Mars? Because
none of these very good organizations, (with the possible exception of the
Chinese and they want to go to the moon first), have adequate resources to make
it happen quickly. NASA’s crewed Mars exploration continues to be slated for
the 2030’s and none are seriously discussing colonization. We need and welcome
their expertise and honor their history but we do not seek government money.
not let private space companies such as SpaceX, or Bigelow Aerospace, organize this effort?
We would welcome a high profile, well-funded, private entity taking point. We share the goals expressed by their leadership to use their
products to get to Mars and they provide the technological foundation for this
effort. While they are building their companies we would like to be building
the Colony and using their expertise and craft to help us get there.
there any legal or sovereignty problems? We do not believe so but will be
making a fuller assessment by looking at the
1967 Outer Space Treaty, maritime precedents, and host country laws. The legal
problems of getting tourist to space, have already been solved - we just want to send people a bit further and let them live and explore.
The private Colony makes no claims of sovereignty over Mars and would welcome
friends in its lonely neighborhood.
is the Colony’s business structure? If successful, we anticipate that a private entity will register as a not-for-profit
corporation, investing its earnings back into the Colony; but for now it is a
sole proprietor launching this effort. We are looking at alternative
organizational structures (such as a co-op) to provide enhanced grassroots
participation and control.
Projecting a colony to another world is a unique business,
engineering and human problem how are we going to address that? By necessity this requires a serious
effort designed to operate a decades long, multi-national, multi-billion dollar
enterprise, employing leaders in their respective fields across a wealth of
disciplines, to plan and support an interplanetary colony. An experienced team,
who can engage with the global community to build support for this effort, will
have to be recruited to lead it.
many Colonists will there be? At present this is undetermined – but we will
start small (perhaps four) and build over time. As reference points, NASA has
been engaging in Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRM) expedition planning
efforts since the 1990’s aimed at sustaining a six-person expedition for about
500 days. We’ve seen serious permanent Colony plans for approximately 30-40.
Ultimately we seek a permanent, close to self-sufficient, growing presence.
much will this cost? Estimates for an initial landing of four first
Colonists and support for two years are in the $20B range. We financially
benefit from this being a private effort and the one-way approach. Add ten plus
years of additional colonist and supplies, and its real money. But, if you
can’t handle throwing away a 747 after each use, you have no business
possible to raise enough money? Absolutely. This is the single biggest
adventure in history and the opportunities for media rights sales, licensing
and sponsorship have been estimated to be valued up to $150B. A few
ground-truth reference points are the $11B paid for NCAA media rights and
$1.18B for rights to London’s Olympics. At Beijing’s games, sponsorships sold
in the $80-100M range. One X-Men movie grossed $750M in licensing fees. Crudely put, we are going to sell Mars
in order to colonize Mars.
we really contract for transportation? Yes, at present we are basing plans on
using SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy (to be introduced next year) and Dragon Capsule
combined with Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatables such as the BA330.
Just for reference a Falcon Heavy flight that gets 6.4 tons to orbit starts
at $83M – you can order one tomorrow. The private space industry can breathe
new life into Colony ideas that have been in limbo.
much equipment will we need to move to Mars? Another one that is impossible to
answer right now. But as one yardstick, NASA’s DRM iterations have produced
estimates ranging between 200mt and 400mt - which is now within the capability
of current technology. Obviously an audacious goal at a time when reaching Mars with a rover is a truly major accomplishment.
about surviving on Mars? The Martian surface is deadly in a number of ways –
extreme cold, no breathable atmosphere, and scant radiation protection. But it
is also the most hospitable place in our solar system outside of Earth. We have
already successfully survived in Antarctic bases where the extreme low
temperature is a balmy Mars high and Mars’ resources will be available for soil, minerals, air and water so the Colony does not need to be a closed loop.
Why a Mars-to-Stay Effort? Simply put, it’s the lowest cost alternative for making a
financially successful program. A significant portion of the resources and cost
of a two-way expedition are dedicated to its return. It also requires the
development of new ascent technology. One-way allows an achievable mission profile of
liftoff, transit and descent. At some point in the future (perhaps 10 years
after the Colony’s start) a regular return capability may be put into place when local
Mars resources can more easily be employed.
Will we find people willing to go? Pioneers throughout history have always stepped
up to the adventure even if it has meant long-term separation from friends,
family and culture. When a one-way approach was initially suggested, speakers were surprised with the steady stream of people who
wanted to volunteer. The Colonist selection process will ensure that we select individuals who will bring needed skills and thrive
under Mars conditions.
children be raised on Mars? There are radiation hazards in making the trip and
living on Mars' surface that raise strong concerns about reproductive
health. Our initial colonist may be people beyond childbearing years. But for a
permanent effort to succeed we will need to successfully address Colony size, genetic
diversity, childbirth, and rearing the first native Martians.
Will our planning need to be from scratch? No, there are a number of high quality
organizations that have looked at Mars exploration and colonization for years.
NASA is on its v5 DRM outlining plans for an exploration mission. The Mars
Society has been conducting long-term duration mission experiments under Mars
‘like’ conditions. The Mars Homestead Project has been developing a detailed
colony plan. We will not ‘reinvent the wheel’ but instead seek to ground our planning
on these and other efforts.
will we find the needed skills for this project? Simply put this is one of the
most complex undertakings ever. In order for it to success we will need to
attract the most talented and dedicated to our company. That means we will need
to run a sophisticated business operation, led by experienced people and
provide this team with adequate funding and compensation. We will compete for
talent but we will have a pretty cool company to be a part of!
Are we going to exploit Mars? Not in the traditional resource grab or indigenous
people decimation sense. There are no resources on Mars that are worth the
extremely high cost of extraction and shipment to Earth and there are no
inhabitants, of course. We will use the planet’s resources to support the
Colony’s survival and growth but with a land mass roughly equal the Earth’s dry
surface, it will be a long time before we have any appreciable impact on Mars.
about polluting Mar’s environment with Earth contaminants? Environmental
protection is an important concern that we will address in our planning. The
search for life beyond Earth is a quest that commands attention and we will be in a strong
position to contribute to that exploration.
if we have to abandon the Colony? If some unforeseen reason requires us to terminate
the Colony and pull the staff back to Earth, we will have contingency plans to
enable the retrieval of all persons. However, this capability may not be possible for
years after the first landing.
this unbelievably dangerous for the Colonist? Yes. While we obviously would not venture out unless we believed it could be safely accomplished, no one should be under any illusions. This effort pushes our
colonist, technology and financial ability to the absolute limit. This really
is opening a new frontier - an epic, compelling, story.
else is involved with this effort? Anyone who supports
the idea that a Colony is now possible and makes a pledge. This is a crowd sourced effort supported by patrons expressing their belief that
Mars is obtainable. The greater our
number of supporters, the more legitimacy we will have in the eyes of the
financial markets, the media and potential employees. The difference between a
lone voice and thousands sharing the vision and collaborating to make it
happen, is why we like Kickstarter!
Colony Planning Session? We need to validate the concepts by collecting input
from some of the best minds that have considered the different aspects of Mars
exploration and colonization and with those from business and media. With
Kickstarter’s (like you) support we will hold a two-day session with leaders in their
fields presenting their thoughts on colonist, transportation, fundraising,
infrastructure and organizational capacity. Out of this will come our first
draft of the plan, Colony Plan Alpha, and it will also begin the process
of developing momentum for the Colony.
happens after the Colony Planning Session? First of all we produce Colony Plan Alpha which reports on the Session and its conclusions. If validated, we will turn
to developing the organization and fund raising
for the next steps. We anticipate that additional stages will include the complex,
in-depth, studies needed to create the full Colony Blueprint and to
begin to shop that proposal to media organizations and potential sponsors. We
will also be adding advisers and staff as we scale up the effort.
if the Colony Planning Session does not validate the idea? Then we produce Colony
Plan Alpha and provide a record of where we are close and where there is
distance to cover. This will be an important contribution to Mars exploration
and advancing the concept of a privately funded effort. Unfortunately it will
mean that there will be no names inscribed on the Lander, no pictures with the
colonist, and no party of a lifetime at the First Colonist Launch - our patrons
run that risk. But if we hit our goal, with your help, the Colony Planning Session
and Colony Plan Alpha will take place!
expensive, why so much to make this happen? Have you run a quality
business conference lately for 120-150 people? The largest part of our budget
goes to underwrite our presenters; the remainder is spread across the venue, food and
beverage, A/V, webcasting, materials, weekend assistance and Colony
Plan Alpha production. This is a lean operation but designed to be
successful – with your help!
What resources were used to develop this idea? Few of the ideas presented in this
Proposal are original; we freely acknowledge the innovation and sound work
around Mars exploration and colonization that has been expressed in the Journal
of Cosmology (journalofcosmology.com), The Mars Homestead Project (marshome.org),
and The Mars Society (marssociety.com). Good information about what’s now
technically possible is also found at SpaceX (spacex.com), Bigelow Aerospace
(bigelowaerospace.com) and of course NASA. We urge you to explore these
organizations to learn more!
None of the companies or organizations mentioned in this Proposal have participated in its development, have endorsed, or provided any material support for this effort. NASA video footage used under public license.