Mars One is a privately-funded company with the aim of sending human settlers to our little red neighbor by 2025. Some 200,000 people recently paid to sign up for the honor of being shipped off to (eventually) die on the Martian surface. While that might seem like a lot, Mars One was hoping for about ten times that number. Knowing that, it's little surprise that the company is already turning to the crowdfunding community once more.
This time, Mars One has a slightly different plan in mind. Rather than focusing on a plan that wont materialize for over a decade, the current project is to launch an unmanned lander to the surface of Mars by 2018. Along with a geostationary satellite, this lander will provide the public with a live feed from the surface of Mars. Once colonists arrive, this sort of live connection could actually show people all across the globe what living on Mars really looks like.
As well as establishing a video feed, Mars One is pretty sweet on the idea of being the first private company to land their tech on an alien world. Sending tourists into near-orbit is one thing, but planting your company flag on Mars is another. Though the 2018 mission will ultimately be a proof of concept for Mars One, the crowdfunding campaign to make it possible can be seen as a barometer for public interest.
If the public doesn't support Mars One, private investors aren't likely to either. And if that happens, it could quite literally be the kiss of death for any colonists who do make it to Mars. As of this article's writing, Mars One has raised nearly $35,000 with 46 days left in their $400,000 campaign.