Over 200,000 people have submitted applications for a one-way trip to Mars with the Dutch company Mars One. The company plans to start Mars’ first permanent human settlement, and it’s looking for astronauts to start settling the planet. You might even be able to help choose which aspiring astronauts will win a trip to Mars.
The contestants apparently weren’t phased by the application’s warning that once on Mars, there will be no way back to Earth. Mars One writes on its website:
Once on Mars, there is no means to return to Earth. Mars is home. A grounded, deep sense of purpose will help each astronaut maintain his or her psychological stability and focus as they work together toward a shared and better future.”
A Mars One selection committee might throw their favorite applicants into American Idol-style reality shows around the world, complete with challenges that prove the the applicants’ worthiness of being the first to move to Mars. Winners of the reality shows will enter a space training program in 2015 to prepare for the first Mars One flight scheduled for 2022. In its FAQ, Mars One describes the next admissions round:
This round is the regional selection round, which could be broadcasted on TV and internet in countries around the world. In each region, 20-40 applicants will participate in challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars. The audience will select one winner per region and Mars One experts will select additional participants to continue to round four.”
The jury is out on whether audience voters will select the most qualified astronauts or take advantage of the opportunity to vote the most irritating reality show contestants off the planet. So far the applicants are overwhelmingly male and most were clearly not serious enough about joining the space mission to proofread their applications. Here are a few highlights:
Rosalie, a 22 year-old Israeli, describes her interests as “Aimless Wikipedia-ing with no less than 20 tabs open at any given time, adventuring, terrible jokes.”
Mahmud-AL-Noor Nirzhor from Bangladesh writes, “From childhood every time i look at the sky, i think about ‘is there any place in the universe human can go & discover a new world to stay?’ I hope it’s gonna be true one day & i’m eagerly want to part of this history, at any sacrifices.”
In one of the more plaintive applications, Jose, a 52-year-old Freudian psychoanalyst from Brazil writes, “I can help other people beside me because of my Psycanalysis knowledge. I am single, only son, no relatives, father and mother died, so I have no too much thinks on Earth and go to Mars would be my child dream come true.”
To the 202,586 applicants, best of luck.