Mars exploration has gained a lot of momentum in the last few decades and the idea of humans landing on the Martian surface has grabbed the attention of numerous people around the world. Mars One, a non-profit organization, is planning to establish the first human settlement on the Red Planet and the chief executive of the organization claims it's not a scam.
Mars One is a private spaceflight mission, which is led by Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur. The Mars One Mission was announced in 2012 but many people doubt over the feasibility of the mission. Recently, Lansdorp has also released a short video answering various questions raised by the doubters of the mission.
Mars One has shortlisted 100 candidates, 50 males and 50 females, who will advance to the next selection stage. One of the major backlashes that the organization is facing is about the selection of the candidates. The organization has been accused that the selection of candidates is based on the amount of donation made by a candidate.
Lansdorp revealed that the selection process involved screening applications of about 200,000 people. All the candidates were asked to answer some psychological questions and then the list was reduced to 1,000 candidates. These remaining candidates had to undergo medical tests that are similar to the ones that NASA astronauts have to complete. Further assessment and interview of the 1,000 candidates resulted in shortlisting of only 100 candidates.
Lansdorp claims that accusations that finalists made donation to Mars One is not true. However, some candidates made donations and purchased Mars One merchandize.
"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," says Lansdorp.
Experts suggest that the number of applicants received for the Mars One Mission has also been inflated. Mars One reveals that it has received 200,000 while people suggest the organization received only 2,700 applications.
The CEO was also asked about how the mission is being funded. Lansdorp explained that the organization is getting successful funding to keep the mission running. The company is hoping to get strong funding in the near term; however, the delay in paper work regarding huge investments has led to a delay in the first unmanned mission from 2018 to 2020. The manned mission has also been delayed to 2027.
Mars One has a budget of $6 billion to set up the first human colony on Mars. However, the lowest manned mission estimated by NASA is $35 billion. Lansdorp suggests that NASA's cost is high as the space agency has to plan a return journey to the Earth. As Mars One Mission aims to setup a permanent colony on the Red Planet, its budget does not factor in a return journey.
There are many celestial objects in the space and humans have just made it to the Moon. A manned mission to Mars will be one of the biggest achievements in the history of mankind.