In 2013, I interviewed Bas Lansdorp, who said he was launching an ambitious project to send humans to Mars by 2023 — on a one-way trip. I was intrigued by the idea, which he called Mars One. Some 200,000 people from around the world paid a fee to apply to be part of the program. I talked with a few of them, including St. Louisan Maggie Duckworth, who was quite enthusiastic about the mission, especially when she was informed she was one of 100 finalists. Part of Lansdorp’s plan was to turn the whole thing into a reality TV show, selling the rights to finance the interplanetary adventure.
In the intervening years, I didn’t hear much about the project and stopped paying attention. Thus, I missed the news last February that Mars One had filed for bankruptcy, a fact I only learned Monday night when I watched this piece by Desi Lydic on “The Daily Show.” A couple of the people she interviewed — including astronaut Chris Hadfield — blatantly called Mars One a scam and blamed the media for falling for the story in the first place.
Sadly, I have to admit that — in my enthusiasm for all things space-related — I was one of those, for which I apologize.