Different Mars One Finalist: It Totally Isn't a Scam

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Different Mars One Finalist: It Totally Isn't a Scam

Physics student Ryan MacDonald is another Mars One finalist, who is refuting Dr. Joseph Roche's claims that the whole thing is a scam.

Earlier in the week, we ran a rather lengthy article on Mars One finalist Dr. Joseph Roche's claims that the entire Mars One operation was just one big scam. Naturally, quite a few people took issue with this, including a different Mars One finalist - Ryan MacDonald, a 21-year-old student from the UK - who Tweeted to us with the assurance that it actually isn't a big scam.

MacDonald presented his arguments in a video, which you can check out to the right. The hinge of his argument is that the original Medium article on the matter is "filled with factual inaccuracies," which the video address.

First up, to refute Roche's claims that many of the top 100 "bought their way in," MacDonald says that the only necessary payment is a nominal application fee, and notes that several second phase applications who donated quite large sums of money did not make it through to the third phase.

Another of Roche's more worrying concerns was that he never actually met anyone from Mars One in person, and the only interview he had was a 15-minute Skype call. MacDonald does not refute this, but states that the online interview's purpose was to ensure all applicants around the world were subject to the same criteria. He assures us that more thorough testing and interviewing will come later in the process.

Another popular claim is that Mars One has no money, as the initial six billion dollars was supposed to come from a broadcasting deal that has fallen through. MacDonald says that actually, the money is coming from private investors, who will get a stake in the TV broadcasting rights as a result of their investment.

MacDonald proceeds to refute most of Roche, and other Mars One skeptic's most popular arguments, including the claim that applicants have to donate money from media appearances to the corporation.

While MacDonald certainly makes some compelling counter-points, at this stage it is essentially his word against Roche's word.

So what do you guys think? Is it a scam?

Source: YouTube

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This project just gets more and more shady the more I hear about it.

I'm going to say, 'Show me the ship' on this one. When they get the ship at least in dry dock to be built, then I believe it is the real thing.

I will tend to trust a doctor over a 21 year old student.

robert022614:
I will tend to trust a doctor over a 21 year old student.

Came in here to say exactly that and you beat me to it.

At this point, it really seems to the word of some people versus the word of other people. So objectively, they're all about just as credible.

Personally, I feel like there's a lot of talk about investments into Mars One and not a lot of visible progress. There's just something very suspicious about a space program which is five years old, has plans on sending an unmanned lander to Mars in three years, and yet hasn't even revealed a single prototype of this supposed lander. The very fact that the most tangible metrics of progress for Mars One are applicants and funds raised is really troubling to me.

There's a lot of hope surrounding all of their plans, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of continuity between them, or any really visible progress beyond a lot of paperwork and fundraising. Perhaps if Mars One just started up this wouldn't be such an issue, but if they started the astronaut recruitment process two years ago and plan on sending a rover to Mars in three they need to be getting some rubber to the road and FAST.

I remember a time when, if a guy said "I'm totally gonna take you to Mars!" you figured that he probably wasn't actually gonna take you to Mars. Because you remembered that the odds of a scam artist trying to fool you were better than the odds of an actual Mars expedition taking place.

As many others have stated, the real thing for me is show me a ship, show me training facilities, show me any hard evidence of anything. At the moment, it is all just words.

Either it's a scam, or it's a wearyingly starry-eyed group of cloudcuckoolanders who are biting off more than they can chew.

Not something I'm happy about, in either case.

robert022614:
I will tend to trust a doctor over a 21 year old student.

My same thoughts. On one hand we have a seemingly rational experienced Phd, who clearly lays out his concerns. And all of them are clearly apparent. They mimick every-bodies thoughts and fears. And on the other hand we have a 21 year old seemingly concussed undergrad regurgutating a slew of what look to be marketing and propoganda drek. Listening to this dude makes me thing of Scientology. Only I don't think that Scientologists are in any hurry to leave earth for fear that the great Xemu will find them?

Jeez, this is starting to sound like The Producers. There's no ship, there's nobody actually currently contracted to build a ship or a lander or even a training facility, and what the investors are getting in return for their money is a stake in future TV rights. Sounds like Mars One makes out like bandits so long as they get a bunch of investors and the project flops right when the buzz dies down without ever sending anything into space.

I have no proof that it's a scam, but they're sure as hell not getting a living person onto Mars in ten years either on their current trajectory.

Sounds depressingly fake or shaky at this point. Sad, I was pretty excited about this one. Why is this "finalist" kid repping MarsOne shouldn't they be doing this?

teamcharlie:
Jeez, this is starting to sound like The Producers. There's no ship, there's nobody actually currently contracted to build a ship or a lander or even a training facility, and what the investors are getting in return for their money is a stake in future TV rights. Sounds like Mars One makes out like bandits so long as they get a bunch of investors and the project flops right when the buzz dies down without ever sending anything into space.

I have no proof that it's a scam, but they're sure as hell not getting a living person onto Mars in ten years either on their current trajectory.

Spring Time For Hitler on Mars.

Well he did offer some information, and he is certainly excited how legit everything is and that he is on the "inside".
But the main sources of information surrounding the project are twitter and facebook, from what I gather people didn't meet a single person that actually runs this shit and considering their project has just been put in jeopardy days ago we had no official word from anyone in charge.

Awfully strange that, seems it all exists in mists and clouds of what someone heard at some point, no one actually given concrete information or met the guys behind it... that is 1 for 1 how a scam house operates.

MacDonald puts out a ton of YouTube videos about the project. He seems like a starstruck kid, but imo he's kind of leading towards zealotry. I've had tons of shitty jobs where the supervisors spent every staff meeting telling us how they were in talks for extra funding/staffing/equipment with nothing to show for come next staff meeting.

I can't take his word because he seems too invested in the project, I'd prefer if a third, uninvolved party chimed in, but so little concrete information on Mars One at the moment that I don't think any experts would even be willing to touch it.

I'm reading the title two ways: "Different Mars One Finalist: I'm Getting Bribed to Say It Totally Isn't a Scam" and "Young Optimistic Student Mars One Finalist Refutes Well Educated University Professor Finalist."

I'm also skeptical of letting investors have the direct rights to the TV broadcast. If they even did start physical testing and training, before you know it, producers are going to be brought in and ask the colonists to pick fights and try to create drama where there isn't any. The whole idea of a TV show funding this is foolhardy. The TV watching public simply does not have the attention span to pay off whatever the final price tag this mission would have.

If you're not scam artists, Mars One, drop this crap and try to get the private and public space agencies to work together more on a realistic Mars misson (referably, not one that ends up as a show on MTV).

Another of Roche's more worrying concerns was that he never actually met anyone from Mars One in person, and the only interview he had was a 15-minute Skype call. MacDonald does not refute this, but states that the online interview's purpose was to ensure all applicants around the world were subject to the same criteria. He assures us that more thorough testing and interviewing will come later in the process.

I thought by this point Mars One said there would be in-person interviews. I'd want my $6 billion project's representatives meeting the last 100 candidates as soon as possible, to at least find out if any scamming (even simple things like lying about weight, diabetes, etc) was going on with some of the candidates. The sooner we found out we need replacements, the better. I would also be paranoid and think of the possibility of someone, besides my chosen contestant, being on an audio only Skype call.

Oh, dear. This is how bitter cynics are made. In a few years when he finds out... He's not going to take it well.

We are going to see some people die in space and crash land on mars aren't we... Our first foot print is going to be the severed foot that was flung from the wreckage of this insanity isn't it....

Only slightly related, but i'm digging these referential topic titles (same as the "All female team" and "All Male team" Ghostbusters ones)

robert022614:
I will tend to trust a doctor over a 21 year old student.

Could people please not resort to ad hominem arguments?

There is so many ways in which you can point out how ridiculous the project is.

  • They haven't got a single piece of technology to show.
  • Even if they have raised a few millions from private investors they haven't even got anything near their own ridiculously low budget.
  • If you want to establish a colony, but have a limited colonist transport capacity, you should send people in their twenties in order to get the most remaining lifespan and reproduction ability. That basically makes all of the current candidates too old.
  • Which begs the question, why would they even be recruiting candidates now?
  • There is plenty good arguments to pick from. Why would you choose something that isn't even an argument?

    Here's the metric we should use; If it falls apart and people don't get their money back, it's a scam.

    Hard to tell if a scam or not.
    But from the start I have been certain of one thing; this is a financial pipedream with 0 chance of succeeding to raise that much cash! No matter if they are sincere or not.

    If found a scam... our laws *will* get them jailtime for fraud, then. And it's not like we're talking enough money so far to be worth that!

    008Zulu:
    Here's the metric we should use; If it falls apart and people don't get their money back, it's a scam.

    I'd hope mankind has discovered other methods of verification besides pumping 6 billion dollars into a project

    The funny thing is that for a PR-based venture like this, the mere fact that there are reports about it being a scam can very well make the reports true. After all, one they gain a reputation like this, nobody will give them money anymore.

    They should (*WILL*) make a real TV series out of Mars One and every one will be happy.

    Like the fake Moon Landing made for TV and nobody minded, too...

    (<-joking)

    PS: the TV-series could be about a shady buisness man setting up a scam mission to go to Mars, then there is a technology breakthru (by real NASA) and a tight time window (Mars will be closest since centuries or something) and suddenly the trained team of the faked mission is the only team ready at this time.

    Put in some hard SF like Gravity and Interstellar and I'd totally watch this. :)

    Kameburger:
    We are going to see some people die in space and crash land on mars aren't we... Our first foot print is going to be the severed foot that was flung from the wreckage of this insanity isn't it....

    One small splat for man...

    This never looked legit to me. Furthermore it has always looked like a poorly conceived death sentence for the participants if it ever gets off the ground. Also the idea that they will finance the project from the private sector based on a nebulous promise of broadcasting royalties and still for cheaper than NASA can pull off is out and out fantasy. I am also interested in their plan for shielding the crew from radiation once they leave Earth's magnetic field. It's very hard to do without making the whole thing too heavy to lift.

    In other words I need a lot more than a poorly produced he said/she said youtube video to convince me this is anything other than a scam or a death sentence for the participants.

    Hairless Mammoth:
    If you're not scam artists, Mars One, drop this crap and try to get the private and public space agencies to work together more on a realistic Mars misson (referably, not one that ends up as a show on MTV).

    A realistic Mars mission means sending a robot to Mars. Hell, it means sending a hundred robots to Mars. It does not and likely never will mean sending a person to Mars - not unless we develop such advanced spaceflight capability that it is trivial to do so. There is nothing on Mars that justifies the cost of going there in person, and anyone who wants to talk the government into wasting our money on such an endeavour can go to hell.

    I'm gonna put it like this; This project is like Duke Nukem Forever.
    It will trail on forever, never actually getting anything completed enough to be representable. Then suddenly after fifteen years, it will magically be resurrected by a sudden influx of cash, take off a year later only to crash and burn within a week of launch.

    eBusiness:

    robert022614:
    I will tend to trust a doctor over a 21 year old student.

    Could people please not resort to ad hominem arguments?

    There is so many ways in which you can point out how ridiculous the project is.

  • They haven't got a single piece of technology to show.
  • Even if they have raised a few millions from private investors they haven't even got anything near their own ridiculously low budget.
  • If you want to establish a colony, but have a limited colonist transport capacity, you should send people in their twenties in order to get the most remaining lifespan and reproduction ability. That basically makes all of the current candidates too old.
  • Which begs the question, why would they even be recruiting candidates now?
  • There is plenty good arguments to pick from. Why would you choose something that isn't even an argument?

    This actually got be pondering whether or not this is a legitimate argument or not. Afterall, based on induction, 21-year olds will tend to have a lot less experience and knowledge than old doctors, and thus merits our trust. On the other hand, age and experience does not logically equal truth of reasoning.

    One of the star scientists who originally backed this project has all but said the whole thing is unrealistic. the various technical details needed to ensure survivability have definitely not been ironed out yet. If Mars One can address some of the stuff mentioned http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/23/mars-one-plan-colonise-red-planet-unrealistic-leading-supporter here then I will start getting my hopes up. Otherwise I am going to be thinking scam until they prove otherwise.

    Lilani:
    At this point, it really seems to the word of some people versus the word of other people. So objectively, they're all about just as credible.

    Personally, I feel like there's a lot of talk about investments into Mars One and not a lot of visible progress. There's just something very suspicious about a space program which is five years old, has plans on sending an unmanned lander to Mars in three years, and yet hasn't even revealed a single prototype of this supposed lander. The very fact that the most tangible metrics of progress for Mars One are applicants and funds raised is really troubling to me.

    There's a lot of hope surrounding all of their plans, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of continuity between them, or any really visible progress beyond a lot of paperwork and fundraising. Perhaps if Mars One just started up this wouldn't be such an issue, but if they started the astronaut recruitment process two years ago and plan on sending a rover to Mars in three they need to be getting some rubber to the road and FAST.

    This right here. If it is legit there needs to be some visible progress in the very tech needed to make it happen. No equipment and it's just investor bait and a pipe dream.

    most of his points are based on speculation so really its not "10 reasons why its not a scam" and more "10 reasons why i think its not a scam"

    There was a UK tv show that did the exact same as Mars One:

    Clive Howlitzer:
    As many others have stated, the real thing for me is show me a ship, show me training facilities, show me any hard evidence of anything. At the moment, it is all just words.

    Yup, same here. I used to be swept up in all of this when it properly took off but as time went by my left eyebrow just got higher and higher. Yeah, gimme some proof.

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