The Mars One mission to create a human colony on the Red Planet by 2025
has completed another phase with the selection of more than 1,000 candidates from around the world this week out of a pool of 200,000 volunteers. They are seeking a one-way ticket to Mars and a chance to star in an intergalactic reality TV show of sorts.
Of the 1,058 candidates selected, there are 586 men and 472 women. Americans lead the way with 297 applicants chosen in this phase of the process, followed by 75 Canadians, 62 Indians and 52 Russians.
The majority of the applicants are under 36 and well educated, with 347 holding bachelor's degrees, while 159 have a master's and 29 have an M.D.
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Mars One is a Netherlands-based nonprofit venture being headed by 36-year-old Dutch businessman Bas Lansdorp.
"The challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating
those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously," Lansdorp said in a press release
Six colonists will be sent to Mars in the initial launch followed by additional astronauts every year after that.
In the run-up to the maiden voyage, the 1,058 candidates will be further whittled down through simulation exercises, in which they undergo rigorous tests that involve coping with extreme isolation among other challenges.
"The next several selection phases in 2014 and 2015 will include rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of our remaining candidates," Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mars One, said in a press release. "We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind. This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants, and the communities they’re a part of."
At least some of these tests will be aired through a yet-to-be announced television series that will follow the Mars One selection process, allowing viewers to further weed out candidates in a process much like that of reality TV shows like "Survivor," until approximately 40 candidates remain of which a handful will be selected for the first mission.
"We fully anticipate our remaining candidates to become celebrities in their towns, cities, and in many cases, countries. It’s about to get very interesting," Lansdorp added.
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The final candidates will undergo rigorous astronaut training over the course of eight years before the launch.
The mission is estimated to cost $6 billion, which will be financed through private donations and in part by the reality TV show accompanying it.
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