The ‘Mars One’ project has already come under fierce criticism for perceived technical and financial flaws in its plan to send a manned, one-way mission to a dead planet 140 million miles away within a decade.
But now one of the project’s ‘finalist’ astronauts has quit, after revealing fears that the mission is turning into a “nightmare”.
Dr. Joseph Roche, assistant professor at Trinity College’s School of Education, a former NASA researcher and a Mars One finalist selected with 99 others for potential inclusion in the mission, delivered a furious critique of the project and its plans via an interview for the blogging website Medium.
Roche claimed that the 100 finalists were partially chosen based on how much money they have raised and donated to the cause. He also claimed that Mars One requests its ‘community members’ donated 75% of their payment for interviews to the mission - which has an estimated cost of at least $6 billion, but no current source for that funding.
Roche told Elmo Keep at Medium:
“I have not met anyone from Mars One in person. Initially they’d said there were going to be regional interviews… all of a sudden it changed from being a proper regional interview over several days to being a 10-minute Skype call.”
“That means all the info they have collected on me is a crap video I made, an application form that I filled out with mostly one-word answers… and then a 10-minute Skype interview.”
Roche said his application to the project was never meant to be serious, and described the support it receives as a “nightmare”.
“If I was somehow linked to something that could do damage to the public perception of science, that is my nightmare scenario.”
Mars One has not responded to Roche’s criticisms. Meanwhile the official Twitter account recently posted a motivational message for its crew to maintain “team spirit”.