It’s either one of the biggest hoaxes in history conjured up by a group of richly deluded young fantasists or a brave attempt to challenge the boundaries of space travel and beat Nasa and co at their own game.
The Mars One online statement explains that by using the $6bn (4.7bn euros; £3.8bn) generated through the biggest-ever television spectacle, the team will have enough knowledge and resources to set up a permanent colony on Mars.
Basically this means turning the whole recruitment process into a reality TV show, following the contestants on their seven-month journey into space and finally capturing their Red Planet experiences on camera and beaming them back to audiences on Earth.
Mars One has already generated more than 8,000 "likes" on Facebook and the introductory YouTube video has been viewed more than 800,000 times.
‘Not a hoax’
Bas Lansdorp, 35, made his fortune selling shares in his wind-harnessing energy company.
Critics say the Mars One team does not have a full understanding of the problems involved So far all the Mars One endeavours – including a quick trip over to get some advice from Nasa – have been self-funded.
"If you look at the team involved in Mars One, none of us would do this as a hoax," says Mr Lansdorp.
"If a Mars mission was to happen we’d want to be part of it and if we did a scam now and it didn’t work no-one would ever include us in the real thing."
If this all sounds familiar, that may be because back in 2009 the Russians launched a 17-month Mars experiment.
The simulated flight conducted by the European Space Agency was designed to test the physiological and psychological impact of a journey to Mars.
But at the time, Christer Fuglesang from the Science & Application division of the ESA admitted it was no real comparison to the lack of oxygen or gravity levels.
The truth is it’s hard to test what life would be like on Mars while you’re still on Earth.
The fact that Mars One has recruited one of the original founders of the Big Brother reality TV takeover has simply given the detractors more ammunition.
But, Bas Lansdorp claims, "reality TV is an added component just to make it possible".