Monday, March 9, 2015

More on Mars One -- I expect this from ABC News but Sheldon?

There's been another wave of PR in support of the privately funded "Mars mission" Mars One (and yes, I do need to use quotation marks). There have been news stories, interviews with applicants who did or didn't qualify for the "mission," (NPR, how could you?) and even fictional characters like Castle and, sadly, Sheldon Cooper ("The Colonization Application").

Just to review, not only is this mission almost certain never to happen, but every major aspect of it collapses under scrutiny.

The funding goals are wildly unrealistic, the budget estimates are comically optimistic, and what little technology has actually been proposed is so badly designed that, according to an MIT study, it would be likely to kill all the colonists within a few months. I am pretty sure Howard would have pointed all of these things out to Sheldon.

You could also find some these objections in this piece from ABC, but you'd have to look closely because the reporters buried them as deep as possible, just far enough from the end to allow Mars One CEO/confidence man Bas Landorp have the last word.

Obviously this is a fun story, a lottery where anyone can become a colonist to Mars made even more dramatic by the twist of being a one-way trip. I also get that this is a story many probably most of us would like to believe. That is a high enough standard to justify a hook on a TV episode, but it is an embarrassingly low one for major news outlets.

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