Julie Payette on Mars One: “Nobody is going anywhere in 10 years”

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Just days after a Mars One candidate colonist put forward his thoughts on the project and raising some serious questions, former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette has put forward her views stating that “nobody is going anywhere in 10 years”.

Payette made the comments while addressing delegates at the three-day aerospace symposium at the Montreal headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Payette said that we do not possess the technology to send people to Mars and she doesn’t believe that a marketing company with a TV-type selection process can send anyone to the red planet.

“We don’t have the technology to go to Mars, with everything we know today, so I don’t think that a marketing company and a TV-type of selection, is sending anybody anywhere,” she said.

“So, if you meet any of those people, don’t tell them they’re courageous because the only courage they had was to sign up on a website.”

The Canadian astronaut who retired in July 2013 to become chief operating officer of the Montreal Science Centre added that commercial space travel is going to be a reality soon and that will become the norm in a few decades.

“We are going to go to space on a commercial basis and it’s at our doors,” Ms. Payette said. “It’s a reality that will become the norm in the next decades.”

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Payette’s statements comes days after Dr Joseph Roche, one of the 100 Mars One candidate colonists, said that he isn’t sure about the project’s ability to deliver. In an interview with Elmo Keep who penned an article about his findings about the Mars One project with a key question that raises concerns on the feasibility of the project, Dr Roche said, “I have not met anyone from Mars One in person.”

Roche said that the guys at Mars One had been saying that there will be regional interviews with tests that will last for days, however, that didn’t turn out to be the case as the selection process at the end turned out to be only a 10-minute Skype call.

[JUST IN: Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp says project is not farce; lambasts bad press]

He further added that he isn’t aware of any candidate who has sat a face-to-face interview to assess their suitability for any deep-space mission. Keep notes that the process is no way near NASA’s stringent astronaut corps requirements.

“That means all the info they have collected on me is a crap video I made, an application form that I filled out with mostly one-word answers,” (in addition to the Skype video call that didn’t include any rigorous psychological or psychometric testing). That is just not enough info to make a judgment on someone about anything,” Roche says.

Keep, in his post, cites a report by NBC News that the number of video applicants was just 2,782 and not 200,000. To confirm these findings Keep asked Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp whether this was correct and in reply, the CEO gave quite an unclear answer.

Keep also brings forth a range of issues including no contracts with private aerospace suppliers or TV production partner or any investment from major brands. He also highlights that the Netherlands-based company hasn’t even finalised a training facility where the candidates will be trained for 10 years to prep them for the journey to the red planet and subsequent life on it.

[Editor’s Note: Edited the title to reflect name of the astronaut]