The world needs broad-minded pioneers who can bring together technical solutions and real world challenges. ATLAS University College Twente aims to deliver those New Engineers, starting in 2016, when the founding class has finished the undergraduate programme.
ATLAS is proud to be the official educational partner of Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation that will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Bas Lansdorp, a young entrepreneur who graduated from the University of Twente, founded Mars One and is a perfect example of the New Engineer.
Bas received his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Twente in 2003. Bas
worked at Delft University of Technology for five years and founded Ampyx Power in 2008 in order to develop a
new, viable method of generating wind energy.
"It has always been my dream to launch a human
settlement at Mars. As I didn't work at NASA, it was
clear to me that I had to do it on my own."
In order to follow his dream, Bas sold part of his shares in Ampyx and started Mars One,
where he is now the Chief Executive Officer.
Mars One has developed a realistic plan to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.
This plan is built upon existing technologies, available from proven suppliers. Crews of four people will depart every two years, starting in 2024. The elected crewmembers will never return to Earth.
In the coming years, a demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions will be sent to Mars.
The rovers will set up the outpost before the humans arrive. One of the rovers will explore the surface of Mars in search of the most suitable location for the settlement. This rover will also transport large hardware components. The second rover is a trailer, which will be used to transport the landing capsules.
Mars is a planet of extremes.
The temperature varies from -140 °C in the winter to 20 °C in summer.
Mars is known for severe dust storms, and the atmospheric pressure at the surface is only about 1%
of the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Earth. Fluid water can only exist briefly in the lower parts of Mars.
Elsewhere on Mars the water immediately evaporates or freezes. Establishing a settlement on Mars will require
solutions that work under these extreme conditions.
Unlike Earth, Mars has no magnetosphere.
This means extreme amounts of dangerous
radiation bombard it's surface daily.
Very fine dust covers the surface of Mars.
Massive dust storms can veil the planet for
weeks at a time, covering solar panels and
disrupting energy production.
Living in a pressurized capsule on another
planet is not for the faint of heart. Many
sociological and psychological challenges
will have to be solved.
On distant Mars, colonists will have to be
self sufficient. This means being able to
produce many things on their own, from
hydroponic vegetables to equipment.
Further away from the sun, Mars receives
significantly less solar energy than our own
planet. Smart solutions will be required to
make the most of it.
With a toxic atmosphere, 62% less gravity
and dangerously low atmospheric pressure,
our Martians will have to adapt to their
Bas embraces the concept of the New Engineer.
"It really makes me happy when I can work on all kinds of different aspects of business and management. For Mars One it's great to be involved in everything, from funding and logistics, to technology and creating commitment. Of course, for a project like Mars One it's very important to spend time and energy in making other people enthusiastic."
Bas is happy to share two major lessons, which he practices himself.
"I am always looking for the weakest link, because that's what is decisive for the end result. In the end the total is only as strong as the weakest link. That's why I always strive to improve the weakest link." Bas also believes simplicity is key for success. "Many people have a tendency to make things complex unnecessarily. ‘K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid’ is my motto."
The colonists will overcome many
technical problems just to survive
—growing food, purifying water and air,
and protecting against heat, cold, and
There will also be many social challenges. Colonists
will have to remain physically and mentally healthy,
assimilate newcomers, and uphold justice. As part of
the partnership with Mars One, ATLAS students will
help find ways to overcome these challenges.
"We will adapt existing technology, so the biggest challenge is not technical. The major challenge is the human aspect. We are talking about people, who leave everything behind, knowing that they will never come back to Earth. In order to successfully establish a human settlement on Mars, it is key that the colonists live and work together harmoniously. Students can think outside the box like no one else and come up with innovative solutions.
That's why I have high expectations about our partnership with ATLAS University College Twente."
Furthermore, the partnership between Mars One and the University of Twente involves more than the involvement of ATLAS students.
"We also cooperate with researchers and professors of the University of Twente in the fields of robotics, solar energy, electrical engineering and psychology."