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Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Mars One: Falling back to Earth?

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    The Dutch non-profit organization Mars One wants to send 20 people on a one- way trip to Mars.
    The organization has drawn scrutiny after one top finalist for the trip said publicly the mission is a scam; others have termed it “a pipe dream.”
    The Mars One finalist who sparked the controversy is Dr. Joseph Roche, who holds a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics, and has worked as a NASA researcher. Roche’s concerns went viral in March. His article suggests the mission to Mars is bogus and the money donated might never be put to use.
    Roche’s concerns gained traction as the decisions on who would move into the next round of finalists seemed based on how much money applicants had raised, not on abilities or qualifications.
    Roche said no face-to-face interviews have been conducted, nor any psychological or physical testing. One ten-minute Skype interview is all the contact he’s had as a finalist, plus given “points” for raising funds or purchasing Mars One merchandise. Roche claims the $6 billion budget posed by Mars One won’t send anyone to Mars.
    This is echoed by NASA’s studies, which put similar missions between $35 billion and $100 billion.
    Bas Lansdorp, Mars One’s CEO, has called the Roche article “sensational” and “devoid of facts,” blaming it for public scrutiny, but Roche isn’t the only one alarmed. 
    Nobel laureate Gerard’t Hooft, former “advisor” for Mars One, said a time frame for sending a manned mission to Mars is 100 years, not 10 years that Mars One is working with (already pushed back).
    Noteworthy criticism for the mission is an MIT study that found serious flaws in the plan. The study suggests the first death would occur approximately 64 days into colonization, with the rest following soon, depending on which “failure conditions” occur. The study cited starvation and suffocation, or even incineration.
    Is Mars One a suicide mission, a pipe dream, overzealous, underfunded — or an outright scam? Roche’s major concern is that Mars One’s inevitable failure will discourage the public from funding space programs. 
    This is why public funding for programs like NASA is so important. We need the greatest minds in science behind us when we go out into the stars, not just the whims of wealthy CEOs.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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