Mars One is dead

Mars One, the company that claimed in 2013 that it was going to send tourists on one way trips to Mars by 20218, has been liquidated.

Actually, the headline here isn’t quite right. The patient was never alive. All that has happened is that we will no longer have a corpse to kick around. From day one I never gave this company any credence, considering it to be nothing more than a publicity stunt. It appears the company itself has finally admitted this.

Mars One finalist kicked out for publicly criticizing company.

The Mars One finalist who publicly criticized the company’s proposed one-way Mars mission has been kicked out.

The company claims he breached their confidentiality rules. In addition, other finalists have contested his criticisms. Their points seem reasonable, but the bottom line remains that the project is unrealistic and will not fly. They lack the funding and the technology to do it, and won’t have it for decades.

A Mars One finalist accuses the company of fraud

One of the finalists in the one-way-to-Mars competition by the company Mars One has now accused the company of fraud.

Most egregiously, many media outlets continue to report that Mars One received applications from 200,000 people who would be happy to die on another planet — when the number it actually received was 2,761.

As [finalist Joseph] Roche observed the process from an insider’s perspective, his concerns increased. Chief among them: that some leading contenders for the mission had bought their way into that position, and are being encouraged to “donate” any appearance fees back to Mars One — which seemed to him very strange for an outfit that needs billions of dollars to complete its objective. “When you join the ‘Mars One Community,’ which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points,” Roche explained to me 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.”

There’s more at the link. Essentially, the whole operation has apparently devolved into a petty scam to milk money from the finalists themselves.

None of this surprises me. From the beginning I considered the whole proposal unrealistic, which thus almost forced the people in charge to commit fraud.

Work stalls on Mars One robotic missions

Mars One, the company that just this week announced the 100 finalists in its competition to send 24 people on a one-way trip to Mars, has quietly suspended all work on two robotic missions heralded as precursors to that manned mission.

These facts just add weight to my conviction that the Mars One competition is at the moment nothing more than a reality television show. It is a cool idea for a television show, but journalists should stop selling it as anything more than that.

A television reality show to pick 24 candidates to go to Mars — one way

The competition heats up? The private effort to choose 24 people to make a one-way flight to Mars has narrowed its candidates down from more than two hundred thousand to 100 finalists.

More here.

As interesting as this effort is, it is very important to remember that it is not an effort to fly these people to Mars. They don’t have the money and no one yet has the technical ability to make the flight. What they are actually doing is putting together a television reality show, where these 100 individuals will compete to be the final 24. If they do it right, which I am somewhat doubtful, the show will be entertaining and scientifically educational.

A ruling by “a fatwa committee” in the United Arab Emirates now forbids Muslims from going on a one way mission to Mars.

A ruling by “a fatwa committee” in the United Arab Emirates now forbids Muslims from going on a one way mission to Mars.

“Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam,” the committee said. “There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death.” Whoever opts for this “hazardous trip”, the committee said, is likely to perish for no “righteous reason”, and thus will be liable to a “punishment similar to that of suicide in the Hereafter”.

Suicide and martyrdom in the name of Islam, however, is perfectly all right.

Mars One narrows its applicant pool of would-be Martian colonists from 200,000 to just over a 1000.

Mars One narrows its applicant pool of would-be Martian colonists from 200,000 to just over a 1000.

People started applying for a voyage to the red planet in April 2013 through Mars One, a Netherlands-based private venture that wants to land humans there by 2025. By the time the company stopped taking applications, more than 200,000 people had submitted one. Today, Mars One announced that it’s made a short(er) list of 1,058 applicants.

These are individuals willing to make a one way trip.

A private unmanned mission to Mars by 2018?

A private unmanned mission to Mars by 2018?

Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, Mars One founder and CEO, told reporters the foundation has signed contracts with two major aerospace firms, Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology, to develop mission concept studies, a first step toward eventual construction and launch.

The lander will be based on the design of the 2007 Phoenix Mars lander that Lockheed Martin developed for NASA. The communications satellite — the first such “geostationary” comsat in orbit around the red planet — will incorporate technologies developed by Surrey and used in a variety of operational spacecraft.

Mission concept studies are of course essential before you begin construction, but they are also a far cry from actual construction. I’ve seen literally hundreds of similar concept studies about someone’s big space plans with no subsequent follow up. Thus, I will only begin to take Mars One serious when they actually start cutting metal.