Remember Mars One? The mega-hyped, one way ticket to go start a colony on Mars assuming it could get a ship and funding and capable colonists and training facilities and the major technological advances necessary to make it all happen? Surprise! According to one finalist, the whole thing is pretty much a scam.
In an article published on Medium, Dr. Joseph Roche, a professor at Trinity College's School of Education in Dublin and Ph.D in physics and astrophysics, broke the silence on some of Mars One's many potential pitfalls. Chief among them: the whole thing smells of scam. As Roche explained to writer Elmo Keep:
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....
In February, finalists received a list of "tips and tricks" for dealing with press requests, which included this: "If you are offered payment for an interview then feel free to accept it. We do kindly ask for you to donate 75% of your profit to Mars One."
At least they asked kindly.
What's more, for a mission presumably seeking six ideal humans to survive in an impossibly harsh environment, selection seems awfully lax. According to Roche, what was initially going to be a several-day-long, in-person interview and testing process eventually got whittled down to a measly, 10-minute Skype call. And from the sound of it, they weren't even a particularly illuminating 10 minutes:
Roche said he then had a short Skype conversation with Mars One's chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, during which he was quizzed with questions from literature about Mars and the mission that Mars One had provided to all the applicants. No rigorous psychological or psychometric testing was part of the appraisal. Candidates were given a month to rote-learn the material before the interview.
You can head over to Medium to read more about Mars One's vast and varied flaws. And if it still sounds like a good idea after that, we'd like to take a few minutes to talk you about a great timeshare opportunity. [Medium]