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Vegas puts odds on who will make it to Mars first, and it isn’t NASA

Vegas puts odds on who will make it to Mars first, and it isn’t NASA

Although a Mars landing is still several years away at the very earliest, it’s becoming more and more certain that it’s just a matter of time. That’s partly down to the constant jumps in technology that make it more possible, and partly due to the increased competition.

Based on all the recent headlines you’d be forgiven for thinking that NASA is leading the way, and everyone else is vying for second place. As it turns out, NASA reaching Mars first is a longshot at best, according to the Vegas oddsmakers at

The group was prompted in part to go through the odds at the behest of Popular Mechanics, and the results are fairly surprising – or maybe not.

The oddsmakers believe that the smart money on getting to Mars first is on SpaceX, with odds of 5:1.

While it’s surprising to hear NASA isn’t at the top of the list given how much focus the space agency has put on Mars, it also makes sense. SpaceX is currently operating its own uncrewed shuttle, and it will begin sending humans into space in its Dragon capsule beginning in 2017. By comparison, NASA doesn’t have anything planned for at least the next several years.

On top of that, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has stated that he desire to go to Mars. To accomplish this, SpaceX is planning on unveiling its Mars Colonial Transporter later this year. It’s currently further ahead of NASA, so it has the better odds.

As for NASA, the odds aren’t great.

The space agency is working on several new pieces of technology that could make the trip to Mars possible, including a new rocket and an engine. Despite that, the odds of NASA reaching Mars first are 80:1.

Rachel Esparza, the person responsible for the odds, noted that NASA would be in first place easily if not for budget cuts.

That doesn’t mean the oddsmakers don’t think NASA will reach Mars, just that they don’t think it will be first. It also is focusing on the hardware. If SpaceX does reach Mars first, it will likely do so crewed by NASA trained astronauts.

Here’s a breakdown of all the odds.

SpaceX: 5:1

The Mars Society: 9:1

Mars One: 15:1

Inspiration Mars: 25:1

Russia: 60:1

NASA: 80:1

China: 100:1

European Space Agency: 300:1



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Founder and DBP boss. Ryan likes the Kansas Jayhawks, long walks on the beach, and high fiving unsuspecting people.
1 Comment
  1. Kit Dineen October 8, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Awwww, the poor European Space Agency. That’s just sad.


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