Mars One Finalist: It's All a Scam

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Mars One Finalist: It's All a Scam

Mars One finalist Dr. Joseph Roche claims the entire operation is just one big scam that will inevitably fall on its face.

If you haven't been keeping up, the Mars One operation is essentially a non-profit organization trying to send a bunch of people on a one-way trip to Mars. It's already been breeding doubt with its bold claims of being able to achieve what NASA claims is impossible (and on a fraction of the budget, to boot), and now, someone "on the inside" has come out to claim the whole thing is just one big scam. Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity College's School of Education, is one of the 100 "finalists" for the mission, and has quite a few doubts over the way things have been handled.

First up, while Mars One claims the initial volunteer pool numbered close to 200,000, Roche says that the actual number was a paltry 2,761. What's more, he says that quite a few of the finalists have simply "bought" their way in, rather than being actually qualified, and that Mars One is actively encouraging all finalists to "donate" any earnings from media appearances and the like to the organization.

"When you join the 'Mars One Community,' which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points," Roche explained to medium in an email. "You get points for getting through each round of the selection process (but just an arbitrary number of points, not anything to do with ranking), and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them."

Roche finds it very odd that a company seeking six billion dollars in funding for its mission would be asking its candidates to donate the "pocket change" earned from media appearances and merchandise.

Furthermore, despite being in the top 100 candidates... Roche has never actually met anyone from Mars One personally. "Initially they'd said there were going to be regional interviews... we would travel there, we'd be interviewed, we'd be tested over several days, and in my mind that sounded at least like something that approached a legitimate astronaut selection process," he said.

"But then they made us sign a non-disclosure agreement if we wanted to be interviewed, and then all of a sudden it changed from being a proper regional interview over several days to being a 10-minute Skype call."

Roche's biggest fear is that when Mars One inevitably fails, it may shake people's faith in the scientific community.

"My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face, if, as a result, people lose faith in NASA and possibly even in scientists."

I've personally had my doubts about the whole viability of Mars One, and Roche's words seem to be confirming what a lot of us were already thinking. It's a damn shame, but you know what they say about stuff that seems "too good to be true"...

Soruce: Medium

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"If it is too good to be true ..." old saying that seems to apply here. Actually, I haven't lost faith in science, we will get there some day, but I guess I am just not to surprise that someone is willing to try to scam something like this.

Still hoping we get there in my life time.

I didn't believe it would happen in my lifetime in the first place but I hate the idea of a scam around space travel.

If this claim is true, I'm not surprised in the least that the claim to send people on a one-way trip to Mars for "y'know, science and stuff" is total baloney. I'm just disappointed this many people got taken in by it.

Well... Yeah.
Wait, people actually believed that Mars One was a thing?
Oh, honey...

Yeah, I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing when it was first announced, and this really cements things.

I mean, I would love for people to people to go out into space and do awesome shit.

This is not awesome shit and the people behind Mars One aren't helping.

Eh. I vaguely know one of the other top 100 finalists, who hasn't paid a penny to be there. It's an incredibly fun thought experiment, really.

So is Homeopathy and organised religion, but both are popular. This is a great story to follow, regardless.

Is it possible? Sure, but there are a TON of steps that would need to be taken first WAY before you could actually send anyone to mars. Your probably WAY better off setting up a station on the moon with mining equipment to help you build a bigger ship with more supplies (While you keep sending additional O2, extra soil and other supplies up to a space station to be stored) , then you would be using all the resources needed to get everything out of Earth's atmosphere.

In addition, setting up a sample "biodome" on the moon would give you practice and ensure you have what you need once you actually send a crew to mars (believe it takes about 2 years to get there). I don't think we have currently had any humans spend 2 years in space without coming back, nor have we even had humans live 2 years in a biodome without any outside resources being introduced. These are things that need to happen before you can send any manned ship to mars, and it's not something that can happen over night.

Best bet, in my opinion, work directly on getting comercial continuous flights up to a space station and back again (paid for largely by the passengers who are taking the trips), this would allow you to bring supplies up and constantly increase the size of the station (and more then likely build the actual ship in space that way). You could then, in theory, skip the whole moon phase (though long term it makes MUCH more sense to make a moon base first so you can send additional ships towards mars after the first.

Btw, doesn't have to be one way. Just because NOW we don't have a way to get them back, does not meen we wouldn't have one in say 10 years. We just need to make sure we have enough supplies/materials etc for the people who go to survive long enough for us to come up with a way to get them back.

If we where to figure out cold fusion for instance, say in 10 years, it would not be nearly as hard to make a ship that could make a round trip to mars.

Well, the situation as I see it is that Mars One was only going to happen if it can achieve the six billion it was trying to collect, there was never any real guarantee that this mission was going to happen, which is odd given how some of the people claiming to have been selected had been acting, the whole thing was always a promotional gimmick in order to obtain funding. What's more as it's raising money, it makes sense that Mars One wants the people on board to be contributing towards making the mission happen, which can mean giving them money OR simply appearing to generate hype and passing them a few bucks that way. Every bit of pocket change helps, and it should have surprised nobody that those coming up with lots of funding were able to buy seats. By it's very nature nobody except maybe Astronauts and Cosmonauts are "qualified" for this mission, everyone selected is going to have to undergo serious training, and it's likely people selected now will get the chance to train but many will flunk. Furthermore, given that this is a one way trip nobody heading out on the mission is going to have any real need of material wealth here, and really you can understand why those financing the project don't want people to simply use the program as a way to generate personal fame and fortune, which might also reduce the chance of them actually wanting to leave if it becomes real.

Basically what I'm saying is that I think this is a dream more than a project, it's a goal being worked towards rather than a definite, and it seems like this was always fairly up front. What's more I kind of figured the big "scam" involved in this was going to be that the claims of being able to do this at a fraction of the cost of a government was inevitably going to fall through, but only after they had built up tangible resources if they managed to land that six billion dollars to begin with, which means they could potentially bring investors on board to finish it, or get nations more interested once they saw tangible progress being made. In part I was thinking in this direction because simply put private space travel is impossible in the current climate, unless of course your so rich you can literally afford an island outside of any kind of international jurisdiction and afford to obtain and ship materials there. The reason being that there are all kinds of laws about things like say rocket fuel, test flights with experimental aircraft, and other similar things. Not to mention that a lot of the best technologies you'd want to use for things like this a proprietary properties of governments or under patent and then permanently licensed to them. This is why not everyone has been building a flying machine in their back yard, despite Popular Mechanics having made it clear how easy it is to construct a Gyrocopter (basically try and build something even that simple and then fly it around your neighborhood and see how fast the government shuts you down with laws you probably didn't even know existed, private flight is tightly regulated for a number of reasons including concerns about what would happen if everyone started doing it given the lack of a viable three dimensional traffic system, the potential damage coming from crashes, and of course the big question of how a cop is able to enforce the law on someone flying around without killing them... say if they rob someone and then start flying away in a Gyrocopter, how do you ground the bloody thing short of shooting it down, and then god knows what it will crash into). To put it bluntly once they had the money and started I think they are counting on the fact that the government will pick up some of the tab when it seems likely, and especially when you start say seeing people wanting to build giant storage towers full of rocket fuel on private property.

I have no doubt there is deception involved, indeed I expect it just based on some of the things that would have to happen to make it work, I do not however think it's an outright scam, at least not yet. They are very much in the promotional and fund raising part of the project, their mega-sized kickstarter is running so to speak, we won't know anything until they have their six billion dollars and see what they actually start to do... and in the end if it does work I very much do think that a lot of these people who put in money thinking they are buying a place on the ship might be in for a rude awakening, since as I said I'm sure they will probably have to undergo training, basically no matter how much they put in they can't exactly bring someone who can't deal with changes in gravity along with them, apparently a lot of pilots in the military fail to get through the G force testing, and it's worse for astronauts who not only need to work on surviving multiple Gs without blacking out, but also need to be able to master moving in zero gravity which I've never done but probably isn't as easy in reality as it looks on TV or in novels. All the money in the world doesn't help if your baggage that is going to get everyone else killed when dealing with a mission where everyone is going to have to pull their weight.

Never had any confidence in the idea to begin with. I mean as cool as it would be to go into space and set foot on a new world...I'd rather not be the guinea pig on an untested, crowdfunded civilian ship...no thank you...

wulfy42:

In addition, setting up a sample "biodome" on the moon would give you practice and ensure you have what you need once you actually send a crew to mars (believe it takes about 2 years to get there). I don't think we have currently had any humans spend 2 years in space without coming back, nor have we even had humans live 2 years in a biodome without any outside resources being introduced. These are things that need to happen before you can send any manned ship to mars, and it's not something that can happen over night.

2 Years is just when you send the spaceship at the worst possible time to get to mars. At the best time it takes about 8 months, maybe a bit more.

I would say 'too soon to be skeptical' without some sort of verifiable proof. You're a college professor, man! How many students have you told to show their work in your lifetime?! People claim stuff all the time. Wouldn't it be nice if there was more to it than that?

I've been skeptical since day one. If the "team" behind Mars One has developed the self sufficient life support and habitats to keep those people alive on Mars and the spacecraft to bring them there, it would probably be better to sell the technologies to NASA and the ESA and/or be a contractor for developing and producing more tech. It's better than to try to send 2 dozen people to be stranded on a rock 225 million km away. Since they're supposedly non-profit, all of the profits could be donated to education, scientific studies, or fucking world hunger. I think a temporary mission that leaves a structure, which is permanent and reusable without much maintenance for years, on the Moon would be better.

I'd believe this more if it was labeled for profit. The idea of some eccentric billionaires trying to convince public and private space agencies that their companies have proven space worthy products is more grounded in reality. Non-profit status is just making me think the founders and their buddies that they hired to help manage the organization are doing this to get some free money as employees of a non-profit organization, and, when it fails, they can simply say, "Hey, we tried."

I also highly doubt someone in a position such as a this professor would say what he has without very good reason. I gleefully await Mars One's response.

Actually it even does not matter if it is a scam - which it is - but an endeavour that will send several people to their certain death for the marketing reasons and as such is to be shunned.

Wait! Stop the presses! You're saying that a ONE WAY TRIP TO MARS isn't real? Huh, didn't see that coming.

But who's going to fight the Cockroaches on Mars now then?

The good news is that they are unlikely to reach the point where they even have the ability to send people to their deaths.

I don't think this is going to induce much doubt in the legitimate scientific and space exploration communities. I don't know anyone that thought this was a legitimate endeavor in the first place.

Man, all those people on Facebook who post "I F**king Love Science" posts between gobbing endlessly about the future we're going to live in are going to be so upset after I post this...

>:D

If anyone born before the year 2050 sincerely thought they were going to see humans on Mars in their lifetime, they deserve a smack in the mouth for being so dumb.

Yeah, I kinda had my doubts about this after looking into the whole viability of such a project. Even if you believed it was possible, the window of opportunity to reach Mars is fast approaching and, by all accounts, we don't have the ability to actually do it.

Even at it's closest, the time to reach Mars would be accurately gauged in years. Issues or gravity, food and water, and just plain surviving the trip are major concerns. The Martian gravity, atmosphere, and other concerns would make like pretty miserable. And you'd basically be living in boxes for the rest of your life and the smallest bit of damage could kill everyone and would be incredibly difficult to fix as extra parts would be million/billions of miles away.

Yeah, basically, its not likely until we make some huge leaps in technology. Artificial gravity is pretty much necessary and some sort of faster space travel would be nice.

wulfy42:
Is it possible? Sure, but there are a TON of steps that would need to be taken first WAY before you could actually send anyone to mars. Your probably WAY better off setting up a station on the moon with mining equipment to help you build a bigger ship with more supplies (While you keep sending additional O2, extra soil and other supplies up to a space station to be stored) , then you would be using all the resources needed to get everything out of Earth's atmosphere.

In addition, setting up a sample "biodome" on the moon would give you practice and ensure you have what you need once you actually send a crew to mars (believe it takes about 2 years to get there). I don't think we have currently had any humans spend 2 years in space without coming back, nor have we even had humans live 2 years in a biodome without any outside resources being introduced. These are things that need to happen before you can send any manned ship to mars, and it's not something that can happen over night.

Best bet, in my opinion, work directly on getting comercial continuous flights up to a space station and back again (paid for largely by the passengers who are taking the trips), this would allow you to bring supplies up and constantly increase the size of the station (and more then likely build the actual ship in space that way). You could then, in theory, skip the whole moon phase (though long term it makes MUCH more sense to make a moon base first so you can send additional ships towards mars after the first.

Btw, doesn't have to be one way. Just because NOW we don't have a way to get them back, does not meen we wouldn't have one in say 10 years. We just need to make sure we have enough supplies/materials etc for the people who go to survive long enough for us to come up with a way to get them back.

If we where to figure out cold fusion for instance, say in 10 years, it would not be nearly as hard to make a ship that could make a round trip to mars.

I've often said. before they can build a base on the moon, they need to build a self-sustaining colony on the ocean floor. At least a thousand feet down. Yeah I know space and the ocean are two fairly different environments but the methods and problems are comprable. You have to creat a sealed, air tight, pressurized enclosure capoable of withstanding a variety of stresses. Find a way to generate, store and recycle oxygen water and food for the long term, and keep people from going batshit insane for the same period.

It'll be cheaper, easier and less harmful than trying to develop the techniques in space.. for starters there's a whole slew of problems caused be low-micro gravity. Weakening of the bones, heart, muscles and blood vessels for starters.. Then there's the bacteria. Yeah apparently in low gravity, Virii fungi and bacteria basically go super saiyan.. while the human immune system conversely gets a little weaker.

Roche's biggest fear is that when Mars One inevitably fails, it may shake people's faith in the scientific community.

Oh, don't worry Roche. No one is seriously considering this group as part of the scientific community.

What's sad is that they missed a reality TV deal. Imagine if they'd created something like a test Mars community in the desert and filmed it as x number of people competed for a seat?

Scams are pretty lame, but scams that could be far more successful are disappointing for more reasons.

It's like the first time you're told that wrestling isn't real, and you have a bunch of heartbreak and stuff, but then your brain kicks in and looks back over it and goes "Well OF COURSE it's a crock of bullshit."

It's a time like this that I feel we should re-evaluate going to Mars. Sure it'd be an amazing accomplishment, but there is no point to it. The planet doesn't have a breathable atmosphere, surface water, gravity worth a damn, or any indication of a fuel source. The people who went there would have to take what they needed with them, and the planet would be constantly requiring (very expensive) re-supply runs. Given that we are a currency driven society, there are no fiscal benefits to going there. Europa has water and oxygen, probably not near survivable levels, but it's a better objective to aim for.

Look at it this way: Scientology has fallen flat on its face, yet people still believe in religion.

I'm pretty sure science is going to be OK.

Shocksplicer:
Well... Yeah.
Wait, people actually believed that Mars One was a thing?
Oh, honey...

I don't know that I ever really believed it. It's more a case of "I want to believe". Even though I know with increasing certainty whenever I hear about a new development in this project that there's no way it's ever going to happen, I want it to be true so much that a sort of groundless optimism invades my thoughts.

ooooh , so once again an organization promises salvation for monetary compensation, and it turns out it's all just a big fraud.
Where's Martin Luther when you need him?

Piorn:
ooooh , so once again an organization promises salvation for monetary compensation, and it turns out it's all just a big fraud.
Where's Martin Luther when you need him?

Martin Luther generally requires the thing being promised to be actual salvation and not merely a bus ride from one point which is a fully functional place to another place which is likely a death trap.

Kind of sounds like they're promising damnation for fiscal compensation.

If true, that's disappointing and I hope some people get what is coming to them for it.

With NASA not having such ambitious plans for it, I heavily doubted it was possible in such a short amount of time, let alone actually being successful. But I was hopeful that it would work out somehow.

Piorn:
ooooh , so once again an organization promises salvation for monetary compensation, and it turns out it's all just a big fraud.
Where's Martin Luther when you need him?

Wait.. How exactly was it supposed to be salvation? Even if it was/is true everyone involved has to know the odds would be stacked against them. That's the opposite of what you're saying.

Lightknight:

Piorn:
ooooh , so once again an organization promises salvation for monetary compensation, and it turns out it's all just a big fraud.
Where's Martin Luther when you need him?

Martin Luther generally requires the thing being promised to be actual salvation and not merely a bus ride from one point which is a fully functional place to another place which is likely a death trap.

Kind of sounds like they're promising damnation for fiscal compensation.

Well, I guess when you see it on a global scale, they're promising the colonization of Mars for the low price of just a few lives.

In general, I just find it disgusting to exploit the Hopes of People for monetary gain, doubly so if it slanders the name of something that is primarily supposed to do good.

Of course it was a scam. I just wish NASA would get some more funding to make an actual attempt to go to Mars. It pisses me off that there is so little drive in government to explore space.

So will the Mars One ship just be a cardboard box labelled "Spehhs Racket"?

And this will be mission control:

XD

I was kind of anticipating some level of tomfoolery when I heard how much money and commercialisation there was involved. No surprise there then if this claim is true.

Blazing Hero:
Of course it was a scam. I just wish NASA would get some more funding to make an actual attempt to go to Mars. It pisses me off that there is so little drive in government to explore space.

Because, unfortunately, exploration is a form of luxury, a risk often too big to take for all but the wealthiest of nations/organizations/individuals. If a Mars mission was to solve an immediate "earthly" problem we have, you can bet your ass NASA would get the funding.

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