Over a Thousand Candidates Shortlisted for Life on Mars
The Mars One project, which aims to put humans on Mars permanently and drew 200,000 applicants, has now announced that more than a thousand of these candidates were shortlisted. They will now be tested in order to come up with a final list of 24 would-be Mars-dwellers.
Mars One was founded in 2011 by two Dutch men with the ambitious goal of establishing permanent human life on Mars by 2025. They hope the project will be funded by investors and the rights from the documentary-cum-reality TV broadcasting of the tests, training and final selection.
The 1,058 candidates who got through to the first round come from all over the world. By far the largest number - 297 - are American, followed by 75 Canadians and 62 Indians.
They must now undergo rigorous tests, including simulations of life on Mars and coping with isolation, co-founder Bas Lansdorp said.
"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.
Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mars One and recipient of the 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award says, “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. 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.”
Details of the 2014 selection phases have not been agreed upon due to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection processes. Lansdorp says, “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.”
This announcement comes on the heels of a busy year 2013 for Mars One. On December 10th, Mars One launched their first ever crowd-funding campaign, focused on bringing funds and attention to the first mission, an unmanned trip to Mars scheduled for 2018. On the same day as the crowd-funding campaign launch, Mars One announced in Washington DC, agreements with aerospace titan Lockheed Martin and the world’s leading small satellite company Surrey Satellite Technology to develop mission plans for the 2018 unmanned mission.