The spokesman did not want his company named because he didn't want to damage the company's relationship with Mars One, but he felt he should talk to CNN to help put the Dutch start-up into perspective for a news audience, he said.
With space opening up to the private sector, many companies large and small are trying to get in on the game, he said. Mars One's idea is one of the most audacious ones.
Strange, dangerous mission
As far as getting to Mars, Lansdorp said his organization is in discussions with SpaceX, the company that has now completed two commercial cargo missions to the International Space Station. The idea would be to use a slightly enlarged version of the Dragon capsule and land with retro-propulsion, not by parachute.
If they get there, Mars astronauts will face a lonely life of danger, subsisting for extended periods on dried and canned food. They will get some of their water by recycling their urine.
They will have to take care of sickness and injuries themselves.
"There will be emergencies and deaths," Lansdorp said. "We need to make sure that crew members can continue without those people."
Mars astronauts will have to be mentally fit to deal with the unusual stresses, he said.
"Their psychological skills will be the main selection criteria we will use," he said.
Once selected, a group of 40 astronauts will undergo seven years of training.
The flight to Earth's neighbor, with its barren red desert landscape and thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, sounds almost worse than a lifetime on it. The crew of four will be cooped up on a rocket for seven months with a limited supply of food and water.
It also might smell bad.
"Showering with water will not be an option," according to Mars One's website.
Mars, the greatest show on Earth
Mars One plans to fund the mission partly from the sale of technology developed during the mission, Lansdorp said. It will share it with potential suppliers, which Mars One lists on its website.
Media coverage will provide the main funding for the mission, Mars One said. Publicity is key, and the media event begins now with the casting of the astronauts.
"Not unlike the televised events of the Olympic Games, Mars One intends to maintain an ongoing, global media event, from astronaut selection to training, from liftoff to landing," it says.
How much money will that yield? It's tough to say, but the NCAA projects it will take in $700 million for television broadcast rights for its 2013 college sporting events.
Lansdorp said that after consulting with media experts and ad agencies, he's confident life on Mars will remain a hit for decades on Earth and will be able to weather any financial crisis or war on Earth.
"If humans land on Mars, everyone will want to watch," he said. "It will be bigger than the Olympic Games."
If all goes well, Earthling television viewers can look forward to a decades-long reality show, though Lansdorp said the astronauts will be allowed to turn the cameras off at times.
It's not just about the hype
The spokesman for the aerospace company credits Mars One for creating a media spectacle and marrying it to technology.
"They very aggressively seem to be pursuing the reality-TV angle," he said.
It has gotten the small company to a stage that it can begin feasibility studies with aerospace companies, he said. It's also allowing scientists to work on ideas they otherwise might not have been able to pursue.