The Mars One mission started in 2011 and is intent on creating and occupying a permanent human settlement on the red planet beginning in 2025. Founded by entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp from the Netherlands and Arno Wielders, also Lulu reports from the Netherlands and who holds a Master of Science in Physics, they are focused on having the settlement ready for human occupation after the 2024 liftoff of Crew 1. Consisting of four crew members, Crew 1 will travel in space for a year to reach their destination in 2025, with a planned departure of Crew 2 in 2026, also consisting of four crew members.
This all sounds like another “giant leap for mankind,” to quote Neil Armstrong, the first man to touch the moon, but whether the costly operation will actually transpire, or whether it is all fantasy, has recently come up for debate. Joseph Roche, one of the reportedly 160,000 applicants who signed up for selection to join the mission, is now apprehensive about the billions of dollars needing to be raised to fund the project only lining the pockets of those promoting the plan instead of funding the potentially failed idea.
Contenders, it seems, are being selected on their financial contribution standings. They are urged to donate 75 percent of any appearance fees they are paid for TV interviews in addition to making cash donations in order to gain selection ranking advances in return. Roche, who has a PhD in physics and astrophysics, says that after going through the lax selection process, he fears candidates are being promoted for their financial, rather than physical and mental, abilities. Roche says his “nightmare scenario” is that of the project failing and people losing faith in space exploration and scientists.