Mars One claims it will put a human settlement on the Red Planet before 2024, but questions are being raised in the scientific community about the project’s real intent and the truth behind the publicity. A former candidate for the project is speaking out with allegations that the whole thing is a scam. Others in the space field are calling the idea of a settlement on Mars unrealistic within a 10-year time frame.
The foundation recently announced it narrowed the field of people wanting to take a one-way trip to Mars for settlement to 100 people out of 200,000 applying. The search for astronauts began in April 2013. Some, like former Mars One trip candidate Dr. Joseph Roche, put the number of applicants under 3,000.
The media hyped over the announcement that Roche was to talk about his suspicions that the entire project is a giant fraud. Roche has many scientific credentials including a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics and remains at Trinity College’s School of Education in Dublin, as an assistant professor. He said the way the application process worked made no scientific sense.
Basically, those selected were picked only because of the amount of money they raised for Stichting Mars One, the Dutch non-for-profit foundation behind the settlement effort, according to Roche. He also said the process did not involve any type of intense training or grueling psychological testing, but only a short Skype interview.
No one applying for the mission has ever met an official from the foundation, even though the selection process has proceeded to the next round, according to Roche. Roche said his experience during the process showed him the Mars One project’s training is well below traditional standards set by the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), which raises more questions.
Others once involved in the project are drifting away from the Mars One project. Gerard’t Hooft, a Nobel laureate and theoretical physicist, was once considered an adviser to Mars One. Yet, he stated in February that it will be 100 years before earliest a human crew will land on Mars. Skepticism among scientists grew after it was revealed that Endemol, a television production company expected to bring Mars One at least $6 billion in revenue, separate from the foundation.
Mars One insists it is moving forward and states on its webpage that the next step will be unmanned missions and cargo transport. It does not list any deadlines for prepping for those missions or dates for missions to be launched. However, unmanned flights will be necessary to prepare the planet for humans to travel into outer space in search of redder pastures. But Roche states the truth is that Mars One has no means to do that.
Aerospace companies and other related corporations have not signed any contracts with the foundation, which means that nothing is being built to do any type of missions. There is also no training facility being constructed in order to properly prepare those selected as astronauts for space travel. There is not anyone in the group with proper certifications to be a team leader, which typically requires a pilot with NASA training.
Astronaut Ron Garan believes there is a much more convenient place for humans to settle. He said sending a human colony to the moon makes much more sense than the Mars One project. Garan, whose experience includes a six-month stint at the International Space Station, said colonizing Mars is way too ambitious and raises many scientific questions that are currently impossible to answer. The next logical move, according to Garan, would be to colonize the moon with ongoing transportation from Earth to the moon. The moon could then serve as a terminal station to launch explorations elsewhere, including Mars, he said.
By Melody Dareing
Jeremy Stanley – Flickr