By: Samantha Keefe
Mars One is a Dutch non-profit (or so they state) organization that claims they will be sending four people on a one-way trip to Mars. Every two years after the initial launch, the organization will continue to send four people up, with the goal of starting a new colony on Mars. The project allowed volunteers to place applications in—with a price. In order to have your application considered, applicants had to pay a $38.00 fee. The Mars One website also asks and encourages visitors of the website to donate to their cause.
When the project was first launched, many were intrigued, while others were ecstatic, and tried to secure their spot for the launch. As time has gone on, and the organization has a top 100 list of potential people for the trip, yet suspicion is starting to fall on the organization. After the announcement was made about the project, most of the media accepted what the group said as a truth, without verifying any facts. Instead of questioning whether the trip was even possible, the media gave the group a platform to collect “donations” and recruit new applicants.
In recent days, the project has faced harsh criticisms from many entities. MIT has released a study stating that the project likely will not happen, at least not by 2026, because the technology simply does not exist to send people to Mars. A former employee of Mars One came out and stated that the project was basically a scam, and that the group does not possess the technology to complete the project that they have promised. Mars One has yet to discuss what technology they are using to make the trip possible. If all of these accusations that the organization cannot send people to Mars are true, what happens to all the money that was either donated or given to place an application?
It is likely a possibility that Mars One will not send people to Mars in 2026, or at any other time. Those who donated money, or paid to be an applicant are likely going to be very angry at the potential fraudulent promises that were made to them. There will likely be a lawsuit filed against the company from those who would like their money back. Although each person who contributed to the organization may have only contributed a mere $38.00, all of this money adds up. A class-action could potentially be filed, but will be difficult to prevail since the group, and all those who contributed reside in different nations. Unfortunately it seems that people are simply out of luck if they seek to get their money back, eleven years from now.
In general, society loves space exploration, because it is amazing. From the moment that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, to the launch of the Mars Rover in 2003, people have been fascinated. However, Mars One does not seem to be on the track to making space history. It is unfortunate that there are more articles about the Mars One launch, than there are about Astronaut Scott Kelly, who on Friday started a record breaking 342 day stay in orbit. If people really care about space exploration, they should donate to NASA, or write their representatives to re-fund NASA, who may be able to make it to Mars one day.