Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Is Mars One a scam?

A one-way trip to Mars sounded like fun.

To watch, I mean. Sure, I'd love to travel into space, but a man in my situation really can't go for that. No can do. Even though I might be suited for it personality-wise.

Now, disturbing allegations are coming to light that the proposed Mars One project is nothing but a scam. But how accurate are these allegations? Let's take a look.

The idea behind Mars One is pretty straightforward. It is a privately-funded operation that aims to recruit a team of people to travel to Mars in a habitat craft and set up a colony. These intrepid pioneers go to Mars with the understanding that they will never return. They are there to lay the groundwork for more colonists to (eventually) follow them. Meaning, they would build a compound with breathable air and greenhouses, get firsthand knowledge of surrounding terrain, and so forth. The knowledge gained and the work done on this project will benefit all future human endeavors on Mars, but none of these people will ever see their home again. They will die on Mars, giving their lives so that humanity may finally stretch out into the universe. Now come allegations from the website ToplessRobot (not exactly a credible name) that the whole thing is a scam. As quoted:

"A former NASA researcher named Joseph Roche filled out an application to be one of those astronauts. Roche found a web of bad management, oddball financial commitments, and, he finally surmised, a giant scam behind the Mars One project.

In a recent report to IFL Science, Roche described a suspicious audition process. There was a medical examination, an online quiz, and a few forms to fill out. There was no in-person interview. Roche found himself in a group of the final 100 (of 200,000 applicants, according to Mars One, although Roche found that the number may be closer to 2,000), but had yet to meet anyone from Mars One. He did learn, however, that one could accrue more “points” and work their way up the list by making donations and buying merch. Yeah, doesn’t really sound on the up-and-up to me either."

If true, this raises a few red flags to say the least. Plus, consider that Mars One selected its colonists well before any of the technology necessary to get to Mars was revealed to the public. But wait! There's more!

Dr. Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer at The Mars Society, said on a recent airing of Coast to Coast AM that the final round of applicant selections will be done as a reality TV show.

Yeah. Seems legit.

Granted, we should all reserve judgment until hearing more from Mars One on these accusations. It could all be sour grapes from a rejected applicant. Then again, when taken in total, it does appear that the project has a few serious holes that need addressing.

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