No, 78,000 people haven't signed up to go to Mars forever

The Daily Mail headline from earlier this week is misleading and inaccurate (yes, I know, shocker!)

by Media Hawk on 10 May 2013 22:54

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail, along with many other news outlets I might add, reported that 78,000 people had signed up on the MarsOne programme, to leave Earth forever.

But it's simply not true. 

Yes, around 78,000 people took the first step to signing up to the programme, but unfortunately, they still had to pay registration fees, make a movie and upload it, and then and only then would the process be complete.

The New Space Journal is about the only place that has reported this correctly, pointing out that only around 600 people in reality have completed all the steps necessary to undertake a trip with the MarsOne organisation.

I guess this is just a case of lazy, copy-and-paste journalism. 

Remember folks, press releases can be enticing - but you have to actually do a little bit of legwork too. 

New Space Journal reports:

So what does the 78,000 figure in the announcement represent? “It’s people who have at least done the first step,” he said. That appears to be to go to this page, which asks for only a few pieces of information: an email address, password, birth date, and country of residence. After completing the form, you’re prompted to check your email for a confirmation message; clicking on the link in that message takes you to a page asking you to pay the registration fee before proceeding with the rest of the application.

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