Ready For Mars Project

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Ready For Mars is a project to develop a realistic and achievable manned mission to Mars. [1]

However, by the end of 2019 the project Worksite no longer seems to be active, or has been merged with the Mars Initiative fund raising project and is no longer explicitly described.



The Ready For Mars project aims to develop a practical engineering design for a manned mission to Mars, comprehensively addressing the various technological challanges that need to be overcome. This effort is based around an outline mission concept that aims to minimise the technological challenges involved.

Guiding Principles

The stated guiding principles of the project are:

To conduct exploration of Mars with a view to establishing a permanent base and, ultimately and in the longer term, a settlement, using the simplest and most pragmatic mission design with the lowest development cost and timescales.


The Ready For Mars project originated from early work carried out by the MarsDrive consortium, with an online collaboration under the name MarsDrive Mission in April 2007. This mission aimed to build on Grant Bonin's Mars For Less proposal and had the objective of developing a mission using very small landers, to complement the small launch vehicles proposed by Bonin. During the development it became clear that the use of very small landers circumvented many of the Mars Entry, Descent and Landing difficulties that were a major stumbling block for more "conventional" missions employing landers massing many tens of tons.

The original MarsDrive work was further developed by Terry Wilson, later with the assistance of David Gooding, into an outline mission concept that represented a serious attempt to develop a practical mission design that could be achieved within the scope of conventional entry, descent and landing technologies.

The mission concept is currently in a draft form and work continues to complete the concept definition. The Ready For Mars project is aimed at completing the concept, conducting the necessary research and development into the technologies required and embarking upon a formal top-down engineering design for the various mission systems.

Mission Concept

Overall Mission Characteristics

The mission concept is characterised by:

  • Conventional, Viking-style, Entry, Descent and Landing technology
  • Small landed payloads (ca. 4,500 kg)
  • High redundancy of surface units – mission is a “go” with any single landing failure (and most double failures)
  • High surface mobility
  • High science return (several thousand kg of scientific equipment)
  • Assured Return (that is, not a one-way mission)
  • Use of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) for ascent propellants, breathing air and water.
  • Objectives-focused design


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