Mars One CEO defends mission against claims it is a scam

Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp has responded in a video to mounting criticism that the one-way mission to colonise the Red Planet is a scam, lacking the funding or technology to pull off the audacious plan.

He admitted, however, that Mars One has pushed its planned launch of the first humans toward the Red Planet back by two years, to 2026, due to a lack of investment funding.

An article last week by Elmo Keep branded the mission as “dangerously flawed”. He spoke to Mars One finalist Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity College’s School of Education in Dublin, with a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics who says 

“When you join the ‘Mars One Community,’ which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points. 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.”

The result, he says, is that the most likely people to be the final 20 accepted to the mission are simply the people who have generated the most money for Mars One.

Lansdorp rejects the criticism.

“There are a lot of current round three candidates that did not make any donations to Mars One and there are also lot of people that did not make it to the third round that contributed a lot to Mars One,” he says. “The two things are not related at all and to say that they are is simply a lie.”

Roche also says the mission has been overhyped and there were only 2,761 applicants, not 200,000, as has been claimed.

It is just the latest in a welter of criticism to dog the mission. A former adviser to the project, Nobel laureate and theoretical physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft, last month said a realistic launch date isn’t 10 years from now as the organisation claims, but 100 years.

Mars One has also apparently lost its contract with production company Endemol to create a reality television show, which the organisation was hoping would generate $6 billion.