1,058 People -- Out Of 200,000 Applicants! -- Closer To One-Way Ticket To Mars
By: Erin Ruberry
From a pool of more than 200,000 applicants, 1,058 people have been chosen as candidates to populate the first human settlement on Mars.
This isn't a NASA-affiliated effort; Mars One is a Dutch not-for-profit organization headed by Bas Lansdorp with a mission to establish the red planet's first human colony.
What does it take to make the cut as a pioneering spacegoer? While NASA has rigorous criteria for astronaut candidates, successful applicants for Mars One's mission must be 18 years old or older, disease-free, have "personal drive and motivation" and stand between 157 and 190 centimeters tall (61.8 to 74.8 inches), among other attributes.
According to The Washington Post, the "pool of selected applicants includes 472 women and 586 men. More than half of them are younger than 35, but 26 are older than 56. The oldest applicant to move on to the next round is 81." Nearly 300 people come from the United States, while 36 hail from Great Britain.
The cuts will continue until six teams of four individuals are chosen for training, with the first team scheduled for a 2024 launch.
Mars One Medical Director Norbert Kraft told Mashable that training will include extended periods in isolation to see how the prospective space pioneers deal with the solitude: "It's tough for someone to imagine that environment. You have to experience it to know if you're the person that can do this."
As for the first colonists, they're well aware it's a one-way trip. Answering the question whether it's ethical to send humans on a one-way mission into space, Mars One responds on its website:
"All those emigrating will do so because they choose to. They will receive extensive preparatory training so that they fully know what to expect. Astronauts that have passed the selection process can always choose not to join the mission at any time, and at any point during preparations. Back-up teams will be ready to replace any crew member that drops out, even at the very last minute."
Would you take a one-way trip to space?
In Mars Rising, Science looks at the challenges of a manned mission to Mars. Check out the full video playlist here.