Dutch TV show to offer tickets to Mars... one way

Are you crazy enough to sign up for a one-way trip to Mars? Applications are now being accepted by the makers of a Dutch reality show that says it will deliver the first humans to the Red Planet in 10 years.

The main requirements are strong health, good people and survival skills, being 18 or older, and having a reasonable grasp of the English language.

The non-profit company, called Mars One, aims to land its first four astronauts in 2023 for a televised reality show that would follow the exploits of the first humans to attempt to establish a colony on Mars.

A range of potential pitfalls might prevent the project from becoming a reality, including the inability to return to Earth, the small living quarters, and the lack of food and water on Mars.

Assuming of course, that radiation endured during the trip is not lethal, and that any spacecraft is able to negotiate a volatile landing onto the harsh landscape.

Nevertheless, Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp told a New York press conference that organisers had received 10,000 messages from prospective applicants in over 100 different countries in the past year.

In all, Mars One is seeking six groups of four people. A new quartet would make the seven- month journey every two years after the first crew departs in 2022.

Lansdorp said the plan is to use technology and equipment from those who have already made it. A series of rovers would be sent to Mars first before the human mission would be attempted. The overall cost for the first manned mission is about $6bn (€4.6bn).

“It sounds like a lot of money. And actually it is a lot of money. But imagine what will happen when the first people land on Mars. Literally everybody on the globe will want to see it.”

The project has garnered plenty of sceptics but is backed by Dutch Nobel laureate Gerard ’t Hooft.

The world’s space agencies have only managed to send unmanned robotic rovers to Mars so far, the latest being Nasa’s $2.5bn Curiosity.

Many questions remain about how the astronauts would survive on a planet with a temperature of minus 55C and whose atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide.

However, the company’s representatives insisted their mission is ethically sound.

“The long term aim is to have a lasting colony,” said Hooft.

“This expansion will not be easy. How soon that will be accomplished is anyone’s guess.”

The deadline for the first round of online applications is Aug 31. The application fee differs by country; but from the US is $38.

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