More than 1,000 candidates from 200,000 hopefuls have been chosen to train for a private Mars colonisation mission to be partly funded by a reality-TV show following their training and subsequent steps, organisers have said.
They are to be whittled down to just 24, who will be sent over six launches starting in 2024, according to Mars One, the Dutch-based non-profit group behind the audacious endeavour.
The only catch is that the space-bound settlers will be on a one-way ticket to the Red Planet which lies a minimum 55 million km and six months travel from Earth. Costs are too high to contemplate a return trip.
Mars One said the selected 1,058 would-be emigrants to Mars, from 140 countries, were informed on Dec 30 they were the lucky few deemed to meet the criteria — including an “indomitable spirit”, “good judgement”, “a good sense of play”, disease-and drug-free, English-speaking — to be interplanetary pioneers.
“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. We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude,” said organisation co-founder Bas Landsdorp.
The group’s chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, said the candidates will now be called in for “rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing (their) physical and emotional capabilities” over the next two years.
Mars One said that process was caught up in “ongoing negotiations” with media companies over television rights.
The organisers announced last month it signed a €180,000 contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems to build a concept landing module that would be sent in a 2018 unmanned test flight.
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