Mars One, the project that aims to put a group of colonists on Mars in 2025, is poised to take its first big step forward. On Tuesday, the Mars One foundation announced partnerships with Lockheed Martin and satellite company SSTL for an exploratory mission in 2018, potentially sending the first private spacecraft to Mars. Instead of launching a crew of astronauts, as per the final goal, this mission is meant as a proof of concept — and, likely, a way to whet the public’s attention for Mars One’s eventual astronaut reality TV show. The two partners will each be working with Mars One on a different project. Lockheed Martin will be contributing a modified version of the Phoenix lander it sent to Mars in 2007, though the new craft is still in the conceptual stage. It’s meant to perform experiments similar to those of NASA’s probes, scooping soil samples, extracting water from the soil, and testing the deployment of solar panels.