January 2, 2014
Over One Thousand Applicants Picked To Compete For Spot On Mars One Project
[ Watch the Video: Candidates For Mars Trip Narrowed Down ]
Gerard LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Out of 200,000 applicants to establish a colony on Mars by 2025, Mars One announces the selection of 1058 candidates. Mars One is a non-profit organization with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet.
Co-founder of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp says, “We’re extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications. However, 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. We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude!”
Criteria for the selected applicants are posted on Mars One website.
The applicants were notified by e-mail of their status, and told that, if they were not selected, they could reapply at a later date. Lansdrop noted that “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.”
According to an ABC report, 297 applicants were picked from the United States, Canada had 75 and India had 62. In total, more than 107 countries are being represented with 586 men and 472 woman.
For those 1058 applicants who were picked, the next phase will be for them to be subjected to “rigorous simulations” that will focus on the physical and emotional stability and capabilities of each candidate.
According to Mail Online's Sarah Griggiths, the 1058 are all over the age of 18; 357 are under 25 and 415 are under 35 and the oldest person on the list is 81. The candidates will be narrowed down to 40 by the start of training in 2018. Candidates will also go through an interview process with the Mars One committee to determine the finalists for the next round.
The ones who advance will compete against each other in a Mars One-sponsored reality show where the viewers decide who continues to colonize the Red Planet, according to Martin Chilton of The Telegraph.
One of the applicants from Britain is a 20-year-old physics student, Ryan MacDonald, who said, “I still don’t know what exactly it will consist of, as the company is still in negotiations with TV companies, as some parts of the next rounds will be televised.”
The 2014 selection process has not been determined because of negotiations with the media for television coverage. “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,” said Lansdorp.
On December tenth, Mars One kicked off its first fund raising event to provide financing for the unmanned mission to Mars, scheduled for 2018. Mars One also announced an agreement with Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology to develop plans for the 2018 mission.
Some people are a little skeptic about the mission.
John Spencer, founder of the Space Tourism Society, told ABC News, “I respect their interest and wish them well, but I really just don't take them seriously. I have a bet with a friend of mine whether it's two or three years before Mars One fades away.”
“You need billions of dollars to do a Mars mission. There have been companies over the last 20 years that have raised money and tested some engines, but then they realize how hard it is," noted Spencer. "It's difficult, even for the best of the best with an unlimited budget.”
However, Spencer also believes this to be a good experience. He said, “They proved that there's an interest worldwide to explore Mars, that it's no one country's adventure but Earth's adventure. They garnered the imagination of millions of people, and that's actually pretty good.”
According to Lansdorp, a communications satellite could be installed on Mars in less than five years. It would transmit images, data and live video back to Earth, displaying signs of alien life or changing weather conditions.
A lander will be positioned on Mars and transmit signals to a satellite in synchronized orbit. The lander will be built by Lockheed Martin and based on the one used in the 2007 NASA Phoenix mission, also built by the group.
Lansdorp said at a news conference in December that, “Anyone with internet access will be able to see what the weather's like on Mars.”
In ten years the first team of four is scheduled to make the trip to Mars. By the year 2033, the colony could reach 20 settlers. In 2015, the selected candidates will be subjected to an eight-year training program to learn to deal with long periods of isolation.
The journey to Mars will take approximately 200 days when launched, depending on the planet's position in orbit.