Earth's first crewed mission to Mars aboard the Daedalus spacecraft successfully launched from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, USA at 4:47 a.m. EST (0947 GMT), as cheers erupted from the Mars Mission Corporation's Mission Control in London. The historic mission, a massive undertaking decades in the making, is a collaborative effort of MMC and the International Mars Science Foundation. The Daedalus and its human crew of six today take their rightful place in the history books as the fateful journey begins.
The Daedalus is projected to land on Mars in November 2033. The landing and subsequent plan for methodically establishing the first human settlement on Mars will be documented in depth by National Geographic Channel in collaboration with the teams at IMSF and MMC. Details of the journey and a countdown to the landing can be found at www.MakeMarsHome.com.
Upon successful landing, the crew will immediately begin to secure a limited base camp and is tasked with identification of a subterranean space with access to ice and appropriate geological requirements needed to support a long-term habitation site.
Once the first human settlement is established, the crew must sustain itself until future landings in 2035 and 2037 expand the settlement with deliveries of both cargo and additional human occupants. The carefully selected international crew of six are uniquely suited to take on this monumental step for humans, and are supported by the best team on the ground.
Daedalus crew members include:
Ben Sawyer (Ben Cotton) – American – mission commander and systems engineer, space architect. The MIT graduate was very close to his father, whose fascination with space was an inspiration for Ben. Ben is a highly trained and experienced astronaut who has flown for both NASA and private space companies in numerous capacities.
Hana Seung (Jihae) – American – mission pilot and software engineer. Hana is a NASA-trained pilot. Hana and her twin sister, Joon, have dreamed of traveling into space since childhood, and Hana's position as second in command on the mission to Mars is the result of a focused career.
Robert Foucault (Sammi Rotibi) – Nigerian – mechanical engineer and roboticist. Robert showed exceptional intelligence from a young age, and excelled academically at a series of top-level institutions, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in robotics from Stanford.
Amelie Durand (Clementine Poidatz) – French – flight surgeon and psychologist. Amelie is responsible for overseeing the medical and psychological well-being of the crew and future settlement.
Javier Delgado (Alberto Ammann) – Mexican – hydrologist and geochemist. Javier is responsible for developing and managing the settlement's most basic and precious resource: water.
Marta Kamen (Anamaria Marinca) – Russian – exobiologist and geologist. As a young woman, Marta witnessed the Chelyabinsk meteor fall in February 2013, which inspired her interest in meteorites. Marta is responsible for geological exploration and the search for signs of life on Mars.
On the ground, the MMC control team based in London will work closely with IMSF in Vienna, Austria. The MMC team includes:
Joon Seung (Jihae) – American – capsule communicator (CAPCOM), MMC. Jun has been a rising star on the administrative side of Mars Mission Corporation. Her success at MMC brings her into regular collaboration with IMSF.
Ed Grann (Olivier Martinez) – American – CEO of MMC. Ed has committed MMC and himself to a settlement on Mars. Ed holds an engineering degree from MIT, and is the business leader for MMC and the inspiration for the IMSF collaboration. Ed is responsible for keeping the economic and scientific goals on track.
Leslie Richardson (Cosima Shaw) – British – geneticist, administrator and leader of MMC's Phase 3 settlement team. Leslie and her husband, John, have published numerous books together and are well-known for the development of Mars-specific hybrid plants, designed to thrive in the rigors of the Red Planet.
Dr. Paul Richardson (John Light) – British – world-renowned exobotanist. Paul has pioneered the development of a series of plant hybrids specifically engineered to function in the extreme conditions of Martian greenhouses.
MARS -- the global television event series -- will premiere in November 2016 on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Mundo.