Seeing red: Chinese applicants for Mars One mission want money back

Seeing red: Chinese applicants for Mars One mission want money back

Staff Reporter

2013-05-21

Chinese applicants for the Mars One mission — launched by a Dutch nonprofit organization to send four people to the red planet in 2023 — have expressed doubts after the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Bas Lansdrop, co-founder and CEO of Mars One, as saying that the goal may not be achieved.

“If we decide that the project cannot be achieved, we will certainly stop,” Lansdrop told Xinhua.

More than 10,000 Chinese nationals have paid the US$11 application fee to volunteer for the Mars One mission, but many are now demanding their money back.Doubts regarding the validity of the mission were fuelled by Xinhua, which also reported that the Mars One company, registered in 2011 with only one employee, rents a poorly furnished office in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.

Marc Naeije, an assistant professor of astrodynamics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, said that many of the reported 78,000 applicants that have signed up are naive about what the mission would entail. He added that they do not realize the hardships that establishing a colony on the planet would involve.

Mars One aims to land its first four astronauts in 2023 and will document the process for a TV reality show. The applicants are required to be healthy, over the age of 18 and have a reasonable grasp of the English language.

It is expected that a total of 500,000 applications will be received by the Aug. 31 deadline, with applicants paying an administration fee, which varies from US$5-$75 depending on the country.

According the official website, the fee is non-refundable, but many Chinese applicants have called for their money money back, with one internet users saying that he is disappointed to hear that the project may not be achieved and that it sounds suspiciously like a scam.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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