More than 100,000 people have applied to be a part of the Mars One project, which aims to colonize the red planet starting in 2022.
Out of the thousands, 40 people will be selected. Of the 40, just four will participate in the first passage to Mars, which is scheduled to leave in September 2022 and land seven months later in April 2023.
None of the four will ever return to Earth.
More than 30,000 Americans have applied for the chance to be the very first settlers on Mars, paying a $38 application fee.
The audacious project is the brainchild of a Dutch company run by CEO and creator Bas Lansdorp.
Lansdrop told CNN that the price based is on the gross domestic product per capita of different nations. For example, Mexicans pay a $15 application fee.
‘We wanted it to be high enough for people to have to really think about it and low enough for anyone to be able to afford it,’ Lansdorp said.
The very first mission to Mars will cost $6 billion, according to Lansdorp.
He intends to fund the mission by creating a ‘reality TV’ series about the mission, documenting everything from the astronauts’ training on Earth right through to touch-down on Mars and their daily lives once on the planet.
Sponsors and media agencies would pay to broadcast the Mars mission.
‘What we want to do is tell the story to the world. When humans go to Mars, when they settle on Mars and build a new Earth, a new planet. This is one of the most exciting things that ever happened, and we want to share the story with the entire world,’ Lansdorp said.
Another second group of four will leave two years after the first.
The astronauts will complete eight years of training. According to the Mars One website, candidates will be isolated from the world for a few months every two years in groups of four in simulation facilities, to test how they respond to living in close quarter with just three other people.
They’ll be trained in ‘physical and electrical repairs to the settlement structures, cultivating crops in confined spaces, and addressing both routine and serious medical issues such as dental upkeep, muscle tears and bone fractures.’
The seven to eight month journey will be ‘arduous’. There will be no showers and only canned or freeze-dried food. Astronauts must complete three hours of exercise a day to maintain muscle mass.
The atmosphere on Mars is so thin that settlers won’t be able to go outside without a space suit. Cabins will need to be pressurized at all times.
There is no vegetation on the planet, but the Mars One settlers will begin to grow crops in specially designed ‘plant production units’.
By the admission of Mars One, ‘You could say that most people would rather lose a leg than live the rest of their life on a cold, hostile planet, having said goodbye to friends and family forever, the best possible video call suffering from a seven minute delay – one way.’
So just who are these would-be astronauts?
Bailey, 19, from Arizona says she wants to be the first musician on Mars. ‘I see this trip as an artistic opportunity, as well as a scientific one,’ she says.
‘I’m willing to dedicate my life to this mission, but I have a very positive outlook. I’m very light-hearted, and I love to joke around,’ she says, before cracking some highly questionable jokes.
A love of Star Wars and Star Trek seems to be a common thread with many applicants.
Sean Holt, 18, of Australia, says he has to go on the Mars One mission in order to escape aliens who are seeking him. He says will make all his fellow travelers tin foil hats.
John, 50, says his life experience – even his divorce – have ‘forged’ him a perfect candidate for the mission.
‘I can go to Mars without regret, and I will do whatever it takes to get the job done,’ he says.