redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Mars One, the Netherlands-based nonprofit organization aiming to establish a settlement on the Red Planet starting in 2025, has reduced the list of potential colonists from 1,058 to 705, various media outlets are reporting.
According to reports published by MSN on Monday, the cuts were officially announced on May 5. The remaining would-be Martian colonists will now be interviewed by the Mars One selection committee.
“We’re incredibly excited to start the next phase of Round 2, where we begin to better understand our candidates who aspire to take such a daring trip,” Mars One chief medical officer Norbert Kraft said in a statement. “They will have to show their knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality.”
The 353 individuals who failed to make the cut were eliminated for personal or medical reasons, Mars One representatives said, according to Mike Wall of Space.com. Of the remaining candidates, 418 are men and 287 are women, while 313 of them hail from the Americas, 187 from Europe, 136 from Asia, 41 from Africa and 28 from Oceania.
The 1,058 candidates were selected by Mars One in December 2013 out of an original selection pool of more than 200,000 applicants. Each of them had been asked to complete a pair of tasks by March of this year: provide a medical statement of health from their physician and make their Mars One applicant profile open to the public.
Withdrawals due to personal reasons occurred primarily in the 40-50 age group, while those who had to bow out due to health concerns were mostly between the ages of 20 and 35. Kraft said that the fact that the medical tests “turned out to have a major impact on the candidate’s lives” because so many of them learned that they were dealing with serious, previously undetected health issues, “really left an impression with us.”
Following the interview round, the candidates will be whittled down to multiple international teams of four, comprised of two men and two women each. Each team will have to undergo an extensive, full-time training program in order to prepare for a potential voyage to Mars. During this process, Mars One official said that individuals and perhaps even entire quartets could be eliminated from contention, provided that they do not prove to be up to the task.
Also of note is the fact that 44 of the 705 remaining candidates are from India, with 27 men and 17 women making the cut, according to Cez Verzosa of Tech Times. Those aspiring Mars colonists outlasted the 18 other Indian candidates who made it into the second round, and make up 32 percent of the Asian applicants. The majority of the Indian hopefuls come from the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and Thiruvanathapuram.
“We are excited that 44 Indians have been shortlisted in round two. It shows that India is a major player in Mars trip and the chance of an Indian being selected for the final trip is pretty high,” Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and chief executive of Mars One, told Indian local paper Hindustan Times, according to Verzosa.