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Mars One not a scam, assert organizers

By Liang Chen (Global Times)

13:44, May 22, 2013

The Mars One Project on Tuesday rejected Chinese media reports that their project is a scam that has cheated over 10,000 Chinese applicants of their $11 fee, and said it is a "rumor."

"Mars One is making good progress on its plans. We have already contacted an American company to start work on the Environmental Control and Life Support System and Mars Surface Exploration Spacesuit System," Aashima Dogra, a manager of the project, told the Global Times via e-mail.

The whole process involved in selecting astronauts, training, landing and life on Mars will be made public, she said.

The $6 billion project aims to send four people picked via reality TV show on a one-way trip to establish a colony by 2023.

The number of Chinese applicants is second only to those from the US. The registration fee is paid according to the economic situation of their countries. While Chinese applicants pay $11, Americans pay $38.

The Guangzhou Daily reported the project might be using the registration fee to raise money, as it is registered under an address of the residential community where they rent the office with other companies.

The report was a blow to space enthusiasts, with many questioning its feasibility.

"We'd feel hurt if it is fake, as it has been my dream to explore space," said Yang Shimeng, a steel engineer in Tianjin.

In response to the allegations, Bas Lansdorp, founder of the project, told the Global Times he chose his home as the company's registered address, because the office's real location can't be used. He added that the project is just starting, and there will be a lot of difficulties, but it is still doable.

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