If you are a space buff, visiting Mars is probably at the top of your list. It is therefore no wonder that when the Mars One Foundation announced that they were seeking four qualified applicants to send on an all expenses paid trip to the Red Planet, over 200,000 people from 140 countries expressed their interest. The only catch? It will be a one-way trip because their mission will be to establish the first human settlement on Mars!
Given that the only qualifications required was that the applicant had to be over 18, curious, resourceful and able to build and maintain relationships, meant that almost anybody that had ever dreamt of going to space could enter, which is probably why so many people were encouraged to try their luck.
The Mars One Foundation committee, which among others, includes the visionary behind this mission - Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, will now carefully review each application and whittle them down to a few, yet to be determined number of candidates, who they believe are best suited for the mission. Their work will be made somewhat easier by the fact that while over 200,000 expressed their interest in making the one way trip, less than 3,000 seem to have actually paid the fees and sent in the video that is required to be considered for the next round.
The applicants that make it through will be notified by the end of the year, after which they will all have to undergo long grueling mental and physical challenges and compete with each other for the 25-40 spots available for the next round in 2015.
These finalists will be subjected to an intensive seven-year training program, at the end of which, only four will be selected to make the epic trip to Mars in 2023. In order to ensure the immigrants are comfortable on their new planet, a habitable settlement will be built by eight robotic cargo missions that will be dispatched from 2016-2021. If all goes well, the foundation plans to send an additional four individuals by the year 2025.
Besides the danger of losing human life on the Red Planet, the project's biggest challenge is to come up with the over $6 Billion USD that this pioneering mission is expected to cost. The foundation is hoping to raise the funds from private investors and . . . by launching an extended reality television show, which means that not only will the rest of us be able to watch the candidates undergo the grueling training process, but also, vote for the 25-40 finalists and then for the four pioneers that make the trip. And the show will not end there - It will follow these men or women all the way to Mars and then stream their lives 24/7, as they go about building a brand new settlement - So stay tuned, for what could be a never ending reality show!