Mars One is not only a plan to send four astronauts (one of them could be you!) on a one-way trip to Mars -- but it's also a plan for a money-making, ratings-through-the-roof reality show.
No, I'm not kidding.
One of the men behind the effort to put a colony on Mars by 2023 spoke to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday about his dreams of going to Mars, how the Mars One team is looking for sponsors and investors for the project and how a "media spectacle" will help foot the bill.
And with all that a colony to Mars involves -- the transportation, the living quarters, the water, the food, the breathable air -- Bas Lansdorp says, "the biggest risk is in the financing ... convincing [investors] that this really is possible."
Lansdorp, speaking from the Netherlands, where the project is based, described himself as a chemical and mechanical engineer but said he had been working on Mars One full time for the last year.
He's the founder of Ampyx Power, a wind energy company that describes itself as a "pioneering technology startup" developing a plane-like device to extract energy from the wind.
So Lansdorp is used to thinking cutting-edge. His dreams of Mars began about 15 years ago, he said, when he realized he would "really like to go to Mars" and that "if you skip the return trip, that would make it a lot easier."
He and partner Arno Wielders, whose background is in physics and who works part time at the European Space Agency, roughed out their Mars One blueprint beginning about a year ago. They found suppliers who could build the components they required for the trip -- the rocket, the living unit, the life-support systems, etc.
There are details to be worked out -- "a lot of engineering to be done" -- but Lansdorp insisted that "from a technical point of view, our plan is really solid."
What about water?
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is currently on its way to the Red Planet -- with an expected landing date in August -- for the purpose of looking for habitats that could have supported life at one point or evidence that water once flowed on the surface of the planet.