You may be looking at the faces of future Martians. (*Although that’s looking more and more unlikely – see below.)
The video above, released Feb. 15, shows the results of the latest round of selections for the MarsOne mission: to establish living conditions on Mars and, eventually, send 24 individuals who will become the first permanent human residents on another planet.
(Note: being selected for MarsOne does not include a return ticket.)
MarsOne, a Dutch nonprofit company, hopes to fund its venture through donations, corporate sponsorships, and possibly even a televised program about the colonists’ day-to-day life on Mars. (The Real World on another world?) When the call went out for applicants in April 2013 for the one-way mission to Mars, over 200,000 people signed up. Now, that list has been whittled down to just 100 applicants – out of which 24 will be chosen and divided into six teams of four.
The first team selected will, if everything goes as planned, depart for Mars in 2024 and arrive six to eight months later in 2025, landing and traveling where an outpost of habitation and support capsules would have been previously set up via robots. There they would become Mars’ first human inhabitants, living together, working together, exploring, supporting themselves, growing their own food… basically doing on Mars what humans do on Earth, including growing old and, one day (hopefully later rather than sooner), dying.
There are 50 men and 50 women who successfully passed the second round. The candidates come from all around the world: 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa, and seven from Oceania. The complete list of Mars One candidates can be found here.
The following selection rounds will focus on composing teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars. The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team. “Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges.” said Dr. Norbert Kraft, MarsOne Chief Medical Officer and a specialist in aerospace medicine and psychiatry.
Whether or not the MarsOne mission actually happens – or happens on its enthusiastic schedule, if so – remains to be seen. They are planning a lot in a very short period of time. But if anything the desire of so many people to embark on such a mission despite the inherent risks and challenges involved is a testament to how far some are willing to go to push the boundaries of our species beyond our planet.
“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars. These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”
– Bas Lansdorp, MarsOne Co-founder & CEO
Watch a short film about the MarsOne mission from York University below:
What do you think? Would you take a one-way trip to Mars to enter the history books (or whatever passes for books in the future) as a planetary pioneer? Or is that just crazy talk for selfish sociopaths? Vote below!
UPDATE: A finalist for MarsOne, an astrophysicist from Ireland, has recently revealed the “sketchy” and “hopelessly flawed” processes by which the company is selecting its candidates and making empty promises on mission timelines. Read more on Medium here.