Mars One promises to send humans on a one-way trip to the red planet, with the intent to colonize, by 2027. Once the first four people leave Earth for Mars, there's no turning back, no panic button, no chance to return home. This aspect of the trip isn't just for drama -- it's a core tenet of Mars One's technical feasibility. CEO Bas Lansdorp believes that it's possible, using current technology, to land and sustain human life on Mars.
But the systems that would power a human settlement on an alien planet are ridiculously complex. They're so complicated that Lansdorp isn't yet sure what they will actually be. This lack of ready research has mired Mars One in controversy, thanks to a recent one-two credibility punch: First, a 2014 research paper from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concludes that the program is not realistic. Second, a series of articles for Matter magazine calls into question the feasibility of Mars One financially, scientifically and ethically. Still, Lansdorp promises to send humans to live on Mars, but he can't yet say how. He wants the world to trust him.