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Thread: Can this project be trusted?

  1. #1
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    Can this project be trusted?

    Hi, I'm new here and I want to apologize if a similar topic is already around.

    When I first heard about the Mars One project a few months ago - at that time I became interested in the question when humans will fly to Mars and heard that maintaining a human outpost there would be possible - I was simply amazed. I spent one and a half day reading through their website and searching the web about it. At that time I also became a member of the forum. Everything seemed so determined that I didn't question all of this.

    This changed a few weeks later, when I was reading what critics had to say about it - and they seemed to be right. How can a team of few people, with none of them being a real expert in astrophysics/aerospace engineering/etc., can dare to take on such a huge project? They said they've been thinking through their concept for one year before they made it public, because this was a huge project and needed to be very well designed and thought out. But others, being experts in their field, have thought about it half their lifetime and still haven't claimed that it will be possible very soon? Mars One told us that all of their hardware components would be available - fine, but do they function together? They claim to attempt not only to fly people to Mars (which is an unbelievably huge task by itself) but to let them stay and live there! There are just so many factors determining the success of such a mission, how can they just come up with a few hardware components and say it is possible?
    To make things worse, the head of the team, Bas Lansdorp, appears to me not to be sufficiently competent to lead this enormous enterprise. I find the answers he gives in the interviews not satisfying. In short, this seemed to me almost certainly to be a hoax and I was ashamed I trusted this project in the beginning. Then I joined The Mars Society (which I recommend to everyone here) to support a group of people and a leader of the organization I could really trust because of his engagement and competence (Robert Zubrin).

    However, my view on Mars One changed again. For me it was because Chris McKay joined the advisors. Just as well could have Robert Zubrin joined! I was irritated and rethought my worries. I came to the point where I would just impatiently wait and see what happens next. And here I am now.

    Now my questions are: Can you trust this project and because of what? Let me point to the fact that Bas Lansdorp and his team aim to gather lots and lots of money before anything happens. And at some point they'll even agree to receive funds from people like you and me. What kind of assurance can the team offer its supporters? Now they aim to start with the TV series next year, but that as well might be scripted reality. To be radically critical, even the landing on Mars could be scripted and be executed here on Earth (see the sceptics of the Moon landing).

    Don't get me wrong, I'm the last person who wants to destroy any chance to make human life multiplanetary as soon as possible. But if we're not being critical, then we really cannot dare to support such a serious mission as bringing humans to Mars.

  2. #2
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    Hello Nico,

    Well, a couple of weeks ago Mars One changed from a company to a ''Stichting'' under Dutch law, a non-profit foundation.
    There's always means to enrich yourself and mazes in the law can be found anywhere but becoming a ''stichting'' sure won't help you if your primary goal is some kind of skeme to enrich yourself.
    You also mentioned none of the teammembers has an aerospace/astrophysics background.
    Co-founder Arno Wielders is a aerospace-engineer who worked on the Curiousity-mission at Esa-Estec in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
    And i must mention the fact Mars One is backed up by some of the worlds most highly regareded scientist who can't risk the chance to lose credibility in the academic world.

  3. #3
    Of course there's a significant chance Mars One will not pull it off. The odds are heavily stacked against any Marsbound enterprise in the current climate of non-believers and economic downturn. But even if it won't be Mars One taking mankind there, at least their existence forces any other organisation aiming for the Red Planet to up their game. I don't care WHO takes us there, as long AS it gets done.

  4. #4
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    Gotta throw my hat in with Charles on this one, with maybe a little more optimism about the success chance.

    Additionally, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this could potentially lead to the rise of something that might help nudge the currently fragile world economy in the right direction. After all, if MO (or some other group) pulls this off, we will more than likely see not only the rise of an affordable private space industry, but open up a broad new landscape in the job market, as well as rekindle the world-wide interest in reaching the stars that we desprately need.

    Think I got a little off topic there...
    I think that technologies are morally neutral until we apply them. It's only when we use them for good or for evil that they become good or evil.

  5. #5
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    Using NASA and the moon missions as an example, the top level administrators weren't necessarily techies or engineers (although a lot of them were, or started out as such.)

    An effort as large as that (or this) requires a multitude of talents, not the least of which are strong administrators that can steer the project through to completion. Technical expertise can be brought on board as needed - when, how, and where that happens is the job of management to determine.

    Ultimately, someone has to retain the 'big picture'. That's a visionary, not necessarily an engineer - not necessarily not.

  6. #6
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    Can this project be trusted?

    I don't know. We all have our hopes and doubts.

    From my perspective, I'm happy to see someone posting serious discussion, and making a serious effort to the goal. It may not succeed in it's original incarnation, or the way the original organizers ultimately intended. It may not succeed at all.

    But it lays groundwork. And it just might succeed. The big question is if you can pull off and sustain the funding - if you can, many things are possible. If you can't, fewer things are possible.

  7. #7
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    Can this project be trusted?

    I think Mars-One and MarsDrive have a credible shot of doing it in the next decade or so.

    I also was encouraged to see Chris McKay on board.

    I figure we will have a better feel for potential success in just 3.5 years... that takes us through next year's "worldwide media launch", right up to spring 2016 - when a major launch of *something* to Mars had better occur.

    If not, well... we'll see where MarsDrive is by then.

  8. #8
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    I say like Gerard 't Hooft said that the first impression was that it never will work out. But when you look at it a bit more closely it seems to be something that can be achieved. They have suppliers, they have a plan and now they got sponsors too! Next year when the astronaut selection begins they will get so much attention. I can visualize the headlines, "Immigrate to Mars", "Now you can move to Mars" and so on. This will gain attention, sponsors and support I think. But of course there are risks but remember: This is really something that can be achieved!

  9. #9
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    Greetings Frank,

    A question for you. What's your source for your October 24th post: "a couple of weeks ago Mars One changed from a company to a ''Stichting'' under Dutch law, a non-profit foundation."?

    I can find no mention of it on the Mars One website.

  10. #10
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    Hello Arb, Bas Lansdorp, Mars One's co-founder and ceo, announced in their TED ideas worth spreading-speech at Delft University. They haven't published it on their website yet?

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