A mission to build the first human settlement on Mars, which drew 200,000 applicants, said it has already shortlisted about a thousand candidates who will now be tested to come up with a final list of 24 people who will go live in the red planet by 2025.
Mars One, a Dutch non-profit agency said the finalists would undergo eight years of extensive training before launch. They must be happy with the idea of never returning to this planet — Mars One's mission is a one-way trip.
The 1,058 candidates who got through to the first round came from all over the world, said the organization. By far the largest number —297— is from the US, followed by 75 Canadians and 62 Indians.
Those who were not selected in this round, still have a chance to reapply at a later, but still undetermined date, said Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp.
“US astronaut Clayton Anderson was rejected by NASA for its astronaut training program 15 times, yet in 2007 he boarded the Space Shuttle Atlantis for a trip to the International Space Station. He proved anything can happen and the door is never completely closed,” he said in a statement.
The estimated cost of the mission is close to $6 billion, and Mars One plans to broadcast every aspect of the mission in a reality-style TV program.
“We anticipate our remaining candidates to become celebrities in their towns, cities, and in many cases, countries. It’s about to get very interesting,” he added.
In November last year, the US space agency (NASA) partnered with asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources to detect, track and characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs).