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Old August 6 2013, 07:24 PM   #1
Kathy Kringle
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Mars One - Unethical?



Not sure how many of you know about the Mars One organization and company and what they are aiming to do, but on a very basic level they pretty much want to begin colonizing Mars with human beings without the assistance (I believe) of NASA or other international governments. They are planning to do this on the basis that they will first gather as many investors as possible, as much money as possible, and first start off by sending cargo and livable habitats to Mars... then eventually send humans on a one-way journey never to return to Earth.

In theory and from my own personal perspective, the idea sounded pretty cool to me at first considering it is also my wish to expand our exploration territory into that of outer space and perhaps eventually terraform Mars and set up colonies on other worlds. Adding to that, these applicants are well-aware of the risks involved and are told clearly that *they will not be coming back*.

However, after watching this video of the CEO Bas Lansdorp and after reading the content of their website (http://www.mars-one.com/en/about-mar...about-mars-one), I began to have a more cynical and doubtful concept of why they are really doing this.

It seems to me, after watching various interviews with the CEO and reading the information on their site, that they are NOT doing this project for the purpose of a greater good or for further exploration of Mars, space, or mankind at all. The entire operation seems to just be a giant (and quite elaborate) smokescreen for them to make $$$ while completely disregarding the lives that it may cost. If you read between the lines and listen carefully to what he is saying without getting swept away with the talk that every sci-fi fan dreams of, it seems as though he is using this project as simply a grandiose way to make billions of dollars. I will explain my reasoning about why I think this.

1. Doing a cool thing for the wrong reason---PROFIT.
If you read closely on their website, sure...there is a non-for-profit sector of this project...and there is ALSO a FOR-PROFIT company behind it. The CEO Bas Lansdorp expresses OVER AND OVER (admittedly) again and again about "how they could make tons of money" by basically stranding people on Mars. If you listen to the documentary, I think it's clear that he is just an ambitious entrepreneur who, yes might be interested in this for exploration reasons and the "future of mankind", but WAY more than that, the dude just wants to make bank. That much is clear if you watch that video.

Here is a little snippet from Wikipedia:
Mars One, the not-for-profit foundation, is the controlling stockholder of the for-profit Interplanetary Media Group.[19] A global reality-TV media event is intended to provide most of the funds to finance the expedition. It should begin with the astronaut selection process (with some public participation) and continue on through the first years of living on Mars.

They are going to exploit the people through reality TV to make profit...but this isn't some silly shit like "Survivor"...these people WILL NOT be able to return home.

2. Not considering future advancements in technology that may bring the people home one day.
In addition to boldly saying he wants to make billions from this venture, he also "makes it clear" that the people who go to Mars "cannot EVER come home" because we don't yet have the technology to do so. He claims that the selected applicants will travel there, live there, and DIE there without EVER considering that advancements might be made in the future in terms of space travel. The fact that he doesn't even consider it to be a viable possibility in the future is alarming.

I started researching and found that NASA has, for quite a while, been working on creating a spacecraft that theoretically COULD travel man to Mars and back (among other places such as the Moon and back). So why does he not acknowledge this? He refuses to ever mention these people coming back. I think it is only to serve his OWN purpose which is "I want as many people as possible to watch the mission on TV and make me the most amount of money." He is making the project sound more adventurous and dangerous than it might actually be because in his mind, more people will be interested in it and watch it on TV the more risky it is.

First of all, the launch is not even scheduled until 2023, I believe. Which gives us 10 more years to create a spacecraft that could travel that distance and return back to Earth. Plus, even if we didn't reach that goal by the year 2023, it is probable that the applicants who go to Mars will live a normal lifespan (assuming nothing on Mars kills them). So if an astronaut arrives on Mars through this program at the age of 30 and lives to 60 or 70....that gives that human another 30-40 years to see more advancements in technology (such as THE CAPACITY TO GO HOME). Also, while we are at it...if they are going through all the trouble to transport cargo and things to Mars...why not take all of those BILLIONS of dollars you are going to be making and put it to good use by either 1) donating it to an ACTUAL space program like NASA and try to get them to create a module that could carry the equipment they would need to build their own launch site or 2) redirect their efforts (again, using those supposed BILLIONS of dollars they will be making in profit) to building something that would allow planet-to-planet transfer.

NASA is already working on this spacecraft which, in theory, will eventually allow planet-to-planet travel.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/fi...w_fs_33012.pdf

I quote from the article:
Orion will utilize advances in propulsion, communications, life support, structural design, navigation and power, drawing from the extensive spaceflight experience of NASA and its industry partners. With destinations including near-Earth asteroids, our own Moon, the moons of Mars and eventually Mars itself, Orion will carry astronauts into a new era of exploration.

Therefore, isn't it a little bit premature for this CEO to be making assumptions such as "they will never be able to return to Earth"?

3. Not safe, not condoned by NASA or other space organizations. Should probably not even be legal.
I have to still research to see what NASA and other international space organizations think of this company, but it's clear that they are not currently involved and not donating and not participating in it.

Lately, we all know that "space travel" as become a little bit more commercialized with some companies offering "space flights" that BARELY even go above our atmosphere. But, I think this is getting a little bit out of hand. There are laws regulating everything, it seems, except space.

There are plenty of laws that govern us all as human beings...sure they differ from country to country, but there are some basic human laws that exist in most societies. Space, it seems, is one area that, until recently, was seemingly untouchable and unreachable by us common folks or private citizens. Therefore, there probably have not been too many laws to regulate it for private citizens outside the confines of government organizations such as NASA.

I am sure this CEO is going to make these "astronauts" sign all kinds of contracts saying "If I die, get sick, starve to death, etc etc etc...in that event...OOPS! Looks like Bas and the company won't be responsible!" The fu**er should be responsible! He is the one who condoned it.

If NASA truly and unequivocally thought that going to Mars on a permanent basis was feasible or safe at this juncture in human technological development, I think they would have done it already or would have at least planned for something similar. But, they have not. Why? BECAUSE THEY CAN'T BRING THE PEOPLE BACK YET!

Maybe it's just because my concept of space travel has been so heavily Trek-ized, but I truly believe that when we come to the point of colonizing other worlds and going "where no one has gone before", that it should truly be for the betterment of society, of mankind, and for the sole purpose of exploring the unknown. Not for some rich dude to make billions because a few people will be dumb enough to say yes.

Oh BTW...guess who is NOT going to Mars? BAS THE CEO, that's who! Considering the fact that money will be COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT on Mars and be of no value whatsoever, I don't think he would like that very much. The people living on Mars won't even need part of the profits considering Mars has no monetary system...

What do you guys think? Am I overreacting? Because this has really been bothering me.


Thanks~
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Last edited by Kathy Kringle; August 6 2013 at 07:47 PM.
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Old August 6 2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

On the one hand, I can understand your concern.

On the other hand, the big hurdle to space progress has always been the problem of turning it from a money-sink into a money-maker. While it would not have occurred to me that reality TV could be a way to do that....well, if it drives progress, I'll take it.
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Old August 6 2013, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

I want progress too. That is the entire reason I even started watching his interviews and such. At first, I was all for it.

I guess I just don't like that they are taking peoples lives (which is fine as long as the people agree, which they obviously will have to) and turning it into profit, as opposed to truly only doing it because it will be for the greater good.

Maybe it's a bit naive, but progress for the sake of the dollar at the cost of lives seems less thrilling to me then...let's say...50-100 years from now when they can safely transport people to Mars and back without there being any exploitation involved. If it takes longer, it takes longer. I think that when it's done, it just should be for the right reason? I guess.
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Old August 6 2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

That's a really tempting proposition-- join their program, get shot into space on a one-way trip, and they make millions of dollars when your ship blows up and you die.
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Old August 6 2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Melakon wrote: View Post
That's a really tempting proposition-- join their program, get shot into space on a one-way trip, and they make millions of dollars when your ship blows up and you die.
I mean, not to be negative...but isn't that what it sounds like?

No matter what happens to these people, he makes money.

I want them to make some space regulations.
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Old August 6 2013, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

So long as some of the hypothetical millions go to the families of those left behind on Earth (since, at least at first, money won't be of much use on Mars....)
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Old August 6 2013, 07:59 PM   #7
Kathy Kringle
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Lindley wrote: View Post
So long as some of the hypothetical millions go to the families of those left behind on Earth (since, at least at first, money won't be of much use on Mars....)
I will look into that. I am not sure if they are planning on doing that or not.

Money will be of no use on Mars. Money, in and of itself, has no intrinsic value. It is woven cloth and paper with numbers and symbols printed on it. It's only because every single person in our society chooses to recognize it's value, that it has value.

On Mars, there is quite literally NO use for money. Unless whatever mechanism they use to have that "first year of reality television" can also be used to wire money to the person's family.

Obviously, if Mars one day turns into a full-fledged society where most people will be working to earn something and will need some kind of monetary item (compensation) to trade in for physical goods, then money may become necessary. That would take hundreds of years most likely.
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Old August 6 2013, 08:10 PM   #8
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Depends how many people go, actually. If you have more than a handful, they might want some form of barter amongst themselves. Which has little to do with the reality TV profits, of course.
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Old August 6 2013, 08:17 PM   #9
Kathy Kringle
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Lindley wrote: View Post
Depends how many people go, actually. If you have more than a handful, they might want some form of barter amongst themselves. Which has little to do with the reality TV profits, of course.
Only about 6-8 people are going for now (well, in 2023).

I majored in Anthropology...learned about a lot of early societies and how societies form. Just going off of what I have learned, I would think bartering would begin immediately if you were in a world where you had to find food, shelter, and all of that on your own. Bartering, exchanging, sharing and all of that exist immediately. If we were in a primitive society and I saw you had an apple I wanted and I had something you wanted, we would trade if we agreed on it. Our society is so structured and there was a need for compensation and a desire for freedom on what to buy. Also our society is extremely complex and global.

But I have a feeling these people...will be kept up in those little habitats and given rations. What could they forage for on a (supposedly) lifeless planet?
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Old August 6 2013, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?



Just saw this on the Wiki:

"Wired magazine gave it a plausibility score of 2 out of 10 as part of their 2012 Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans."
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Old August 6 2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Excessive regulation is the problem. A childhood friend started a rocket company; the feds said "you can build as many as you like, but you will never launch any".

NASA is useless, because Congress won't fund much. I think this guy's right; unless he makes enough noise about how they're all gonna die up there, no politician sees any reason to fund serious space exploration (and the Moon shots and proposed Mars shots to plant a flag and bring back rocks is NOT serious). NASA probably won't have Orion ready before 2023, and it will probably not be as capable as expected, based on their track record. Remember, Congress always proxmires NASA.

Now, if this idea pans out and makes money, I'm okay with that. And if a bunch of fat, useless politicians suddenly start getting told "WTF! We can't rescue these people? Why not?", then maybe they'll finally spend enough to get something serious done - and once we have that, we'll use it to do more. And they'll add onerous, useless, petty, spiteful regulations, but then they'll find it getting in the way of the rescue their constitutents insist on, and have to remove them.

And then we can start building our economy, because we can finally open the closed loop. Then all the idiots who think we should "spend it down here and not waste it up there" will finally look as stupid as they really are.
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Old August 6 2013, 09:01 PM   #12
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Captain Kathryn wrote: View Post


Just saw this on the Wiki:

"Wired magazine gave it a plausibility score of 2 out of 10 as part of their 2012 Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans."
I'd say "2 out of 10" is giving the whole scheme way too much credibility. This is about as likely to happen as traveling to Mars via astral projection. Debating the ethics of the project is nothing more than a colossal wank.

But, hey, that's what we do, right? We're geeks!
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Old August 6 2013, 09:10 PM   #13
Kathy Kringle
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
Excessive regulation is the problem. A childhood friend started a rocket company; the feds said "you can build as many as you like, but you will never launch any".

NASA is useless, because Congress won't fund much. I think this guy's right; unless he makes enough noise about how they're all gonna die up there, no politician sees any reason to fund serious space exploration (and the Moon shots and proposed Mars shots to plant a flag and bring back rocks is NOT serious). NASA probably won't have Orion ready before 2023, and it will probably not be as capable as expected, based on their track record. Remember, Congress always proxmires NASA.

Now, if this idea pans out and makes money, I'm okay with that. And if a bunch of fat, useless politicians suddenly start getting told "WTF! We can't rescue these people? Why not?", then maybe they'll finally spend enough to get something serious done - and once we have that, we'll use it to do more. And they'll add onerous, useless, petty, spiteful regulations, but then they'll find it getting in the way of the rescue their constitutents insist on, and have to remove them.

And then we can start building our economy, because we can finally open the closed loop. Then all the idiots who think we should "spend it down here and not waste it up there" will finally look as stupid as they really are.
It's not that I want to over-regulate. That isn't exactly what I meant.

I do wish they would put more effort into funding NASA's projects and space program so they COULD actually do something really meaningful, like bringing humans to Mars.

NASA had a temporary Mars mission idea back in 2009 (WHICH INCLUDED A RETURN TRIP PLAN), but the cost was super duper high and they couldn't afford it.
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Old August 6 2013, 09:26 PM   #14
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

scotpens wrote: View Post
Captain Kathryn wrote: View Post


Just saw this on the Wiki:

"Wired magazine gave it a plausibility score of 2 out of 10 as part of their 2012 Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans."
I'd say "2 out of 10" is giving the whole scheme way too much credibility. This is about as likely to happen as traveling to Mars via astral projection. Debating the ethics of the project is nothing more than a colossal wank.

But, hey, that's what we do, right? We're geeks!
Yeah...

But I am unsure what you meant by a colossal wank?
You mean since they probably won't do it anyway, debating ethics is too premature at this time?
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Old August 6 2013, 09:56 PM   #15
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Re: Mars One - Unethical?

One of the problems is suppose you do get there and establish your colony. Then the reality show's ratings plummet and it's off the air a year later. You're still on Mars. You're a former celebrity that no one on earth, no one, will ever see again.
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