Sep 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM
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Sponsors Secured For Reality TV Mission To Mars

Mars One, a Dutch planned expedition that aims to create a human settlement on Mars, has landed its first sponsors, for what it says will be a Big Brother style "global reality-TV media event." Mars One will aim to first send robots up to the Red Planet between 2016 and 2020 with the goal of having the first four astronauts land in 2023.

Sponsors announced last week include Byte Internet (a Dutch Internet/Webhosting provider); Dutch lawfirm VBC Notarissen; Dutch consulting company MeetIn; (an independent Dutch web station that focuses on energy and climate); and Dejan SEO (an Australia-based search engine optimization firm).

"Receipt of initial sponsorship marks the next step to humans setting foot on Mars," Mars One founder and president Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. "A little more than a year ago we embarked down this path, calling upon industry experts to share in our bold dream. Today, we have moved from a technical plan into the first stage of funding, giving our dream a foundation in reality."

The privately-funded expedition still has a long way to go when it comes to sponsorship. Mars One estimates that the total cost of putting the first four people on Mars will be about six billion dollars.