The Mars 100
February 17, 2015 7:25 AM   Subscribe

From the initial 202,586 applicants, 100 hopefuls have been selected to proceed to the next round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Process. The final 100 chosen come from around the world, with 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania. A total of 40 candidates will eventually be chosen to take part in a training programme and live in a copy of the Mars outpost on Earth. posted by roomthreeseventeen (89 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not a fan of the idea of dying of old age at home surrounded by loved ones, let alone dying a quarter of a billion miles from Earth surrounded by the sort of people who think living in a subway car would be cool as long as it was quick death to leave just because one of those winners forgot to perform one of a thousand necessary tasks for our survival.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:30 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't help but feel we've been here already.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 7:36 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


The remaining 60 people will compete in a second contest to design the best mission logo. First place prize is an iPad!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:36 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


First place prize is an iPad!

No, first prize is an oxygen tank. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired—out of a cannon.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:39 AM on February 17, 2015 [21 favorites]


Huh. I thought this was sme elaborate scam. Still probably is.

But if there were a legit Mars venture that would take me, I'd sign up in a second. Even if it were one way only. Even dying you'd be part of something greater than filling a desk for 40 years.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:40 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Please assure me NASA is staying, like, two or three parsecs away from this suicide pact.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:50 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought this was some elaborate scam.

Oh, it is.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:50 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


But if there were a legit Mars venture that would take me, I'd sign up in a second.

Legit Mars Venture, LLC is being painted on the side of a second hand van as I type this. We hope to select our first candidate at random from the Kroger parking lot in a few days! If you're interested in signing up, please go there and talk loudly about how nobody would miss you if you disappeared for a few decades. Donning the Foil Hat of Selection is not required but it will certainly help your chances of being noticed by our Head of Recruitment and Subdual, Big Earl.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:58 AM on February 17, 2015 [26 favorites]


But if there were a legit Mars venture that would take me, I'd sign up in a second. Even if it were one way only. Even dying you'd be part of something greater than filling a desk for 40 years.

There's nothing on earth stopping you from becoming part of something greater here.
posted by notyou at 7:58 AM on February 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the aerospace fat cats with long term investments in the stuff that keeps squishy-soft humans alive off-planet are not OK with this. Agonizingly slow deaths or, alternatively, instantaneous squealing immolations are bad for business. Do not expect them to lend a helping hand to these lemmings...
posted by jim in austin at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought this was sme elaborate scam. Still probably is.

I'm thinking that there's about a 1% chance that any of these people will ever go to Mars. And that's being very generous, probably. At this point it's basically a game that people are paying to play. You could call it the Miss/Mr. Universe pageant. The only drama lies in wondering how long the writers can keep this snipe hunt going.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2015


Why would anybody think a public contest to go into space could be a scam?
posted by kersplunk at 8:00 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe it'll be like that thing in Contact, except that they won't really go.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:01 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought this was some elaborate scam.

Is it even that elaborate? $40 average application fee x 202,586 applicants = $8.1 million
posted by muddgirl at 8:01 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am a young, motivated, fun-loving person. I love meeting new people. I am full of ideas and boredom is not something that I am familiar with. I have a very inquisitive mind and am always looking for new challenges... My friends say that it is impossible for me to sit still for a minute, as I always have to be doing something!

These strike me as not altogether an ideal set of characteristics for being stuck in a small box with a limited number of people for an extended time.
posted by biffa at 8:03 AM on February 17, 2015 [26 favorites]


(The average fee is probably closer to the $75 that American applicants payed based on the number of applicants. I also don't actually know if the 202k number represents all applicants who payed a fee or some other marketing number, but it's a first-order approximation.)
posted by muddgirl at 8:04 AM on February 17, 2015


It's very hard to read about this without turning into Regan MacNeil, staring at the candidates at a cocktail party, saying "You're going to die up there," and then urinating on the floor.
posted by maxsparber at 8:05 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Why would anybody think a public contest to go into space could be a scam?

Seriously, everybody who knows shit about shit knows that you get chosen to go into space by being good at video games.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:07 AM on February 17, 2015 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the aerospace fat cats with long term investments in the stuff that keeps squishy-soft humans alive off-planet are not OK with this. Agonizingly slow deaths or, alternatively, instantaneous squealing immolations are bad for business. Do not expect them to lend a helping hand to these lemmings...

On the contrary, should they ever actually launch (which I find extremely doubtful), the most heartless of the fat cats would be able to utilize all kinds of data about what not to do. "Wow they died quicker/lived longer than I expected!"

I would assume this hasn't been shut down because it is a scam and therefore these fools are only in danger of losing their money, not their lives.
posted by emjaybee at 8:08 AM on February 17, 2015


$40 average application fee x 202,586 applicants = $8.1 million

I think one of the previouslies mentions that only two or three thousand people actually paid the application fee. So that's a couple orders of magnitude too high. Honestly I'm surprised they haven't chewed through the whole stash already.
posted by echo target at 8:10 AM on February 17, 2015


Why do the applicants have "points" and "level"? It doesn't seem to be explained.
posted by Thing at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2015


Honestly I'm surprised they haven't chewed through the whole stash already.

Chewing through the stash is the general goal with scams like this - getting payed to dick around and not really do anything.
posted by muddgirl at 8:14 AM on February 17, 2015


Thing,
See Pope Guilty's post.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:15 AM on February 17, 2015


Also, the website seems very crashy. Which is lucky, because building a spaceship is much easier than building a website.
posted by Thing at 8:15 AM on February 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


Also, from the press release:
Candidates that were not selected to continue will have a chance to reapply in a new application round that will open in 2015. -
Gosh, a new application round. Imagine that.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: agonizingly slow deaths or, alternatively, instantaneous squealing immolations.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2015


You can tell it's fake because they're putting all of their effort into figuring out who to sent to Mars. Figuring out who to send is one of the easiest parts, not because it's easy, but because every other part is so difficult.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I am a young, motivated, fun-loving person. I love meeting new people. I am full of ideas and boredom is not something that I am familiar with. I have a very inquisitive mind and am always looking for new challenges... My friends say that it is impossible for me to sit still for a minute, as I always have to be doing something!

Well, hello there every OK Cupid profile ever!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


a new application round that will open in 2015

Ha! Looks like they really are reaching the bottom of the first barrel of money. So they'll build up a lot of hype right now with sad and terrible profiles of the finalists and try to get another batch of suckers within a few months. How many rounds can they keep it going, I wonder?
posted by echo target at 8:24 AM on February 17, 2015


There is zero chance that Mars One will ever land a person on Mars. It's either a scam or a well intended but foolish boondoggle. As the real aerospace people have pointed out there are about a billion details necessary none of which Mars One seems to be paying any attention to.

What's their spacesuit design? They don't have one. And that's a nontrivial thing especially if you're sending 100 people to a place with no atmosphere to live the rest of their lives. How are they going to land? Really, because that's a much harder problem than most people realize. Unlike the Earth Mars doesn't have enough atmosphere to slow a craft large enough to carry humans down during re-entry, but unlike the Moon it does have enough of an atmosphere to fry you to a crisp. And powered descent requires sending a ridiculous amount of high-impulse fuel to Mars.

If you think all that's necessary is to build a big tin can in orbit, fill it with air and food, strap a rocket to it, and aim for Mars, then this might loook slightly possible. But when you look at the details, it's not possible at all, at least the way Mars One is going about it.
posted by localroger at 8:25 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love meeting new people...boredom is not something that I am familiar with... it is impossible for me to sit still for a minute...

and so I decided the best thing to do would be sit in a tin can for two years, and then die on TV!
posted by echo target at 8:27 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


about a billion details necessary none of which Mars One seems to be paying any attention to.

Nothing that lashings of hubris and a copious amount of cocaine can't solve.

And, they have merchendise! Isaac Newton never had merchendise.
posted by popcassady at 8:33 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why do the applicants have "points" and "level"?

A stopgap until they find an accurate way to measure their midichlorians.
posted by sobarel at 8:35 AM on February 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


mmm, perhaps this is the "B Ark"?
posted by edgeways at 8:36 AM on February 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


So they're planning their first unmanned launch in three years' time, and they haven't so much as done a stationary rocket test yet?

Seems legit.
posted by Dysk at 8:41 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


How many rounds can they keep it going, I wonder?

Just look at apocalyptic cults that predict the end of the world over and over. They won't be massively successful forever, but as long as they can keep stringing out legitimate-seeming events (see below), they'll sucker people in for a good long while.

How's their 2018 unmanned mission going? They've apparently selected a research project, and raised some "angel investment" and a bit of money on kickstarter. I can't find good numbers for the cost of a mars launch - it can't be less than $50 million, just for the launch itself not including the actual lander.

So they're planning their first unmanned launch in three years' time, and they haven't so much as done a stationary rocket test yet?

They're using an existing lander design and presumably they'd use an existing rocket package, but still, there should be a contract in place for building the lander, not just $250k for a conceptual design.
posted by muddgirl at 8:43 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


seems like one can die in an interesting way for free or low-cost. If one does something like tie a buncha balloons to an armchair, then there's the aerospace angle.
posted by angrycat at 8:45 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have they done any evaluation of existing rocket packages? Testing of the lander? Any kind of prototyping at all?

I didn't mean to imply I was looking for a thrust test specifically, just setting the lowest possible bar for actually having started to DO something.
posted by Dysk at 8:45 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


a bit of money on kickstarter

(I meant a bit of money on indiegogo)
posted by muddgirl at 8:48 AM on February 17, 2015


No no, the best profile is Josh's:
Hi there! My name is Josh and I’m a physicist/engineer turned standup comedian.
Because somebody's gotta be funny around here. "I just flew in from Earth and boy my arms are tired!"

The only thing I'm curious about is why people are signing up at all, especially the ones who (if their profiles are to be believed) are educated enough to know how unlikely it is that they will go to Mars. This candidate seems to be using her candidacy to promote her own causes, which maybe she's figures is worth the fee. How many others are in it for the minor celebrity they imagine it might bring?

(But then I also wonder if the entire thing isn't made up—it wouldn't be that hard to hire a bunch of actors, make up some profiles, and shoot a few attractive videos. All the better to entice the chumps who'll never get "selected.")
posted by octobersurprise at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like this is all an elaborate set up for a sequel to Blast From The Past set 50 years from now.
posted by maryr at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2015


you know, the "Red Mars" book spent around the first half going through how folks were selected to go on the journey. It presented a far more rigorous and believable scenario than these yahoos..
posted by k5.user at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is going to be the worst reality show ever. I mean, I thought The Bachelor was depressing.

In other news, never buy your kids an ant farm. Same deal.
posted by RedEmma at 9:19 AM on February 17, 2015


... And powered descent requires sending a ridiculous amount of high-impulse fuel to Mars.

Yeah, they should pick that one. That is the best option for landing on Mars. I picture the launch looking like this.
posted by sfenders at 9:20 AM on February 17, 2015


The contest winners will be second on Mars. Evghenia is first.
posted by Legomancer at 9:45 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


They test them to determine if they are sane enough to go on a suicide mission that proves they are insane.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22."
posted by JackFlash at 9:46 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


These people are never going to Mars, obviously. But I am definitely surprised at Mars One's staying power.

If they do reach the point of building a believable mock Mars outpost on Earth and putting these people in it, I think it will have at least earned itself the right to be remembered as Not 100% a Scam.

I mean, at the very least, we might learn something useful from the experiment.
posted by 256 at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, I take that back. Watching the Round Three trailer, I am now firmly convinced that this entire thing has been a stealth reality TV show pitch and nothing more from the very beginning.

Almost worse than a scam.
posted by 256 at 10:10 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they do reach the point of building a believable mock Mars outpost on Earth and putting these people in it, I think it will have at least earned itself the right to be remembered as Not 100% a Scam. I mean, at the very least, we might learn something useful from the experiment.

We already have mock Mars outposts here on earth, depending on your goals. The non-profit Mars Society has, like, 3 in different climates looking at different aspects of going to Mars. Various other research organizations have their own set-ups. Building a mock Mars outpost is not a terribly difficult problem requiring all this promotion and over-promising.
posted by muddgirl at 10:18 AM on February 17, 2015


Why is this still going on? Because it sells papers*, that's why.


*"Generates clicks", in modern terms.

posted by benito.strauss at 10:30 AM on February 17, 2015


I'm still stuck on the basic premise: why do we want to go to another planet, anyway?

Some kind of permanent space habitat would be a much more useful target. And it would be a much more convenient way to prototype and test the technologies that would someday be required if we did want to inhabit Mars.
posted by doctor tough love at 10:47 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm still stuck on the basic premise: why do we want to go to another planet, anyway?

And why would anyone visit Paris?
posted by maxsparber at 11:02 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


You got me!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2015


And why would anyone visit Paris?

Paris has food, water, doctors, and air, which is more than you can say for most planets.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Speaking as someone who does a lot of remote fieldwork, those profiles are giving me hives. A bunch of quirky individualists? Have they never seen a horror movie?

Ideally I think you'd have a group of people who's interests include groupthink, following orders and sitting quietly in the corner.
posted by fshgrl at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


So they're planning their first unmanned launch in three years' time, and they haven't so much as done a stationary rocket test yet?

Pfft. Everyone knows that marketing is the hard part.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is zero chance that Mars One will ever land a person on Mars.

There is zero chance that Mars One will ever launch anything bigger than a model rocket.

I am now firmly convinced that this entire thing has been a stealth reality TV show pitch and nothing more from the very beginning

Stealth? A reality show is part of their 'funding' 'model.' And I mentioned in the last thread exactly why a reality show about this won't work.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:39 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The reality TV show will be set on earth, in their "copy of the Mars outpost on Earth" where the would-be space cadets will spend a season or two in training. No need to try and convince anyone they've actually gone to Mars. Maybe they can vote each week on who should be the next victim of cannibalism.
posted by sfenders at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2015


Stealth? A reality show is part of their 'funding' 'model.'

Right, but that could still fit into either well-meaning boondoggle (creative funding!) or outright scam (creative funding never intended to come to pass!).

I'm starting to think, however, that making a lot of money off of the TV show was the endgame from the very beginning.
posted by 256 at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2015


A reality show is part of their 'funding' 'model.'

I took 256 to mean that the whole process is a stealth reality show. That once 10 or 20 or however many "candidates" have been chosen someone will pop up and say something like "You're on candid camera!" or "Watch what happens when people stop going to Mars and start getting real!"

Which is to say, that the idea of "going to Mars via a reality show" is the reality show. Which is possible, I guess, but I'm skeptical that "Mars One" is even that elaborate. I think it's more likely that someone realized that they could put up a website and some pretty videos and get people to pay to play what's basically a LARP.

Cunning devils. If Matt started charging a fee on the promise of sending a hand-picked crew to Mars, I'll bet he could rake it in.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2015


Which is to say, that the idea of "going to Mars via a reality show" is the reality show.

Oh, right. That makes sense. Reminds me of back in.. 98? 99? There was some website that purported to be two wholesome Christian kids who were going to lose their virginity live on webcam on a certain date and wanted people to sign up. Then QUELLE SURPRISE it was all "we just wanted to see how many people would sign up, now here's some God talk." (I signed up because I figured it would have been an unintentionally hilarious 30 seconds of terrible porn if it actually happened.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I miss the old Metafilter, where there would have been at least one user unhinged enough to be totally bought in on Mars One and taking all comers in this thread. Don't cranks even have 5 bucks these days?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:37 PM on February 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


There is zero chance that Mars One will ever launch anything bigger than a model rocket.

Well I was being generous. A cubesat is probably within their means. Maybe even getting their name painted on the side of something made by people who really know what they are doing which will go to Mars. But that's probably their limit.
posted by localroger at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2015


Let's just link directly to the Medium article on why this won't happen, and also why it is, if not a scam, then at the very best a project by some people who seem to believe that crowdfunding is a magic wand that can produce anything if you wave it hard enough. (And, probably, given that they're pretty blasé about the possibility-if-not-certainty of people dying as a part of this, also not much caring about the "finalists" being disappointed when they finally admit defeat and shut the doors on this.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:45 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe even getting their name painted on the side of something made by people who really know what they are doing which will go to Mars.

A microSD card tucked into a future lander, probably.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2015


Before "take off" each passenger is taken aside in secret and told, "Look - we're not actually sending you to Mars. We're going to fake putting you in cryosleep and the launch and everything. Thing is, we need someone on the inside and we want that person to be you. If you can keep everyone else believing that they are on Mars, we'll give you 2 million dollars after filming ends in a month."

Those passengers that don't agree to the terms are removed from the trip. Everyone else will be subjected to a month of increasingly shitty special effects (culminating in First Contact with Toby from Accounting dressed in tinfoil) while they all swear up and down that everything is real in order to win their cash.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:57 PM on February 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


I miss the old Metafilter, where there would have been at least one user unhinged enough to be totally bought in on Mars One and taking all comers in this thread. Don't cranks even have 5 bucks these days?

Ok, ok. I volunteer.
posted by mazola at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2015


I suppose the reality tv aspect explains why so many beautiful but untalented women made it to this round.
posted by corb at 1:21 PM on February 17, 2015


Let's just link directly to the Medium article on why this won't happen

That's a good piece. And it does explain, to a degree, why someone might sign up even knowing how hinky it all looks. THEY WANT TO BELIEVE for whatever personal reasons. I find all that a lot more interesting than whatever scam the Mars One Home Office is trying to pull.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The funniest thing for me is a current Reddit thread where someone asks to be explained to ("like I'm five") how the mission isn't illegal because people are saying they will probably die, and most of the kids in the thread treat this like it's a Totally Real Thing That Will Probably Happen rather a Total Steaming Load of Fraudulent Bullshit.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:59 PM on February 17, 2015


'funny' and 'bone-crushingly depressing' are so very close together.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:36 PM on February 17, 2015


LOL at all the mefites who wish they had thought of this first.
posted by notreally at 3:20 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems a bit premature to engage in schadenfreude. I'll save my feelings of jealousy for 2025 when the Mars One founders win both an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by muddgirl at 3:28 PM on February 17, 2015


And then die from an unsanitary telephone. I mean, there are some parallels.
posted by fshgrl at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Imma let you finish but Curiosity was the best Martian landing ever."
posted by octobersurprise at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: I can't find good numbers for the cost of a mars launch - it can't be less than $50 million...

You misspelled "billion". The whole Mars Science Laboratory mission (including Curiosity) cost $2.5 billion or so, and that was just to send a robotic lander we didn't try to get back. I don't think $50 million would get humans back to the moon, not even if they didn't try to come back afterwards.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:39 PM on February 17, 2015


It costs a few million quid in fuel just to put someone in low earth orbit.
posted by dng at 4:55 PM on February 17, 2015


You misspelled "billion". The whole Mars Science Laboratory mission (including Curiosity) cost $2.5 billion or so,

I was referring specifically to the planned 2018 launch of an unmanned lander, and I was trying to refer to just the cost of the launch (which presumably would be subcontracted through an established launch platform). Not the payload or any other part of the mission.
posted by muddgirl at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2015


I see that Josh, highlighted in the article linked in the November 2014 previously did make Team Australia.
posted by scottymac at 6:23 PM on February 17, 2015


Oh, that Medium article is heartbreaking.

Even beyond this whole "leaving Earth forever" and "you'll die up there, probably sooner than later because we have NOT figured shit out" stuff, I am flabbergasted at the folks I read about previously who were married and only one of them was applying. (Can't recall that couple's names or if it was the husband or wife that applied to see if that one is still on the list or not.) If I were married I would be ticked the shit off if my husband signed up for this, even if it's not likely to happen, because what kind of priority am I, then? Much as it's sad that Josh passed up love for a hope of Mars, it is at least sensible of him to not tie himself down. Well, except for the part where it's not all that likely he'll actually make it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2015


Yeah, probably smarter to choose the moon first.
posted by notyou at 10:10 PM on February 17, 2015


If you can keep everyone else believing that they are on Mars, we'll give you 2 million dollars after filming ends in a month."

Shut up, I liked Ascension.
posted by GuyZero at 11:51 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


If anyone were still wondering if this is a scam or not, this is how they determine the "points" and "levels" that were referred to earlier in the thread:

1 point for every dollar spent by ordering merchandise from our online store
2 points for every dollar spent by making a one-time donation
3 points for every dollar spent by making a monthly donation
2 points for every dollar spent by contributing to Mars One’s crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo
100 points when you have successfully entered the Mars One astronaut selection program as an applicant in 2013.
posted by Spiegel at 3:49 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


It reminds me of The Great Reality TV Swindle:

Russian placed advertisements in major publications that invited people to audition for a year-long reality television programme where they could potentially win a prize of GB£100,000. After receiving hundreds of responses, he auditioned some of them on Raven's Ait in London, then selected 30 successful auditionees to take part, without informing them that no actual programme had been commissioned. Telling them that the show would last for an entire year, Russian instructed the participants to leave their homes, quit their jobs and then meet him in London on 10 June, where they would be divided into teams of ten and set their challenge for the next twelve months.
posted by popcassady at 4:16 AM on February 18, 2015


That Medium link makes it very clear there is no way over 200,000 people "applied" for this:

I ask Lansdorp if in the course of fact-checking this story he will allow me to see the list to verify the number. I ask where the 200,000 people registered their interest and if it was ever made public. His answer was…complicated.

“I don’t know if that was ever made public, but they have registered on our website for applying for our program,” he says. “Then there was a number of steps where people had the opportunity to drop out as that was exactly the point. The application process was kind of a self-selection that avoided us having to review all of them. The first step was paying the application fee. A number of people already dropped out there. Then there was a video that you had to make and questions that you had to answer. And that’s also where a lot of people dropped out, that they’re not lying in their motivation.”

I ask again if sharing the list would be possible to verify the figure.

“Of course we cannot share the details of the applicants with you because that’s confidential, private information that we cannot share.”

I offer that the names can be redacted in maintaining the privacy of the applicants before viewing the list.

“Ah, no. I’m not interested in sharing that information with you.”

He emails later, with an invitation to come at my own expense to Mars One’s office in the Netherlands and see the list in person, though cameras will not be allowed. “I will need to read your article before publication and reserve the right to deny you access to the list if I don’t like what you wrote.”


The whole thing's a steaming pile of contradictory bullshit and when it falls apart the CEO will count his money and say "But wasn't it great how it brought us all together in the dream for a while?!"

Fuck the Mars One scammers.
posted by mediareport at 5:37 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


A total of 40 candidates will eventually be chosen to take part in a training programme and live in a copy of the Mars outpost on Earth.

I think I know their angle; they'll get to this point, it will fail miserably, then they'll sell the movie rights to Pauly Shore!
posted by TedW at 11:13 AM on February 18, 2015


I was referring specifically to the planned 2018 launch of an unmanned lander, and I was trying to refer to just the cost of the launch (which presumably would be subcontracted through an established launch platform). Not the payload or any other part of the mission.

According to this link the launch cost was a fifth of that $2.5 billion, so that's $500 million.

It will be an amazing feat if Mars One manages to launch anything other than model rocket.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:15 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


(But then I also wonder if the entire thing isn't made up—it wouldn't be that hard to hire a bunch of actors, make up some profiles, and shoot a few attractive videos. All the better to entice the chumps who'll never get "selected.")

FWIW, one of the 100 is a friend of three (totally unconnected to each other) friends of mine. She's definitely not an actor, and I think she's dead serious about this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by naoko at 8:19 AM on February 19, 2015


Aaaaand Castle just did an episode on this. Though admittedly it was more of a bottle murder episode with a computer than an episode on how this is all a giant scam....but that was good too.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:07 PM on February 23, 2015


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