Thursday 18 January 2018

Irish scientist grounded after criticising mission to Mars

AN IRISHMAN who was in the running to venture to Mars has been kicked off the project after criticising its selection process.

Dr Joseph Roche, a Trinity College lecturer who became one of a hundred finalists for the once-in-a-lifetime trip, was booted off the project after being accused of breaching "a confidentiality agreement".

Mars One is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands that hopes to land four astronauts on the surface of the red planet by the year 2025 to establish a new colony.

Mr Roche claimed that those who purchased merchandise or donated money to the project received 'points', which could mean those individuals would be favoured for the mission.

Speaking to Medium.com, Dr Roche said that the process to be selected for the first ever manned voyage to Mars involves a points system, and that the only way to get points was to purchase merchandise or donate money to Mars One.

In February, those who made it to the next stage of selection received a list of "tips and tricks" for dealing with press requests.


"If you are offered payment for an interview then feel free to accept it. We do kindly ask for you to donate 75pc of your profit to Mars One," the tips state.

"My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face," Mr Roche said.

His comments weren't taken lightly by Mars One. "He's not a contender anymore… because of confidentiality, and this is one of the key pieces, you cannot break a confidentiality agreement," Dr Norbert Kraft, of Mars One, said.

Mr Kraft, who is an aerospace expert, told Morning Ireland that applicants can ask questions about the project but that Mr Roche had not gone through the proper channels.

"He can say 'I do not like this' but applicants [must] ask 'can I say this to the press'," he said. "But you don't just break confidentiality and would you want to work with someone who breaks that?"


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