Almost a quarter of a million humans had the guts to apply, and now, two years on, the names of 100 hopeful space explorers who are still in the running for a one-way ticket to Mars have just been released to the public.
We’ve known for some time that we are exhausting our planet and that Earth’s limited resources cannot sustain our ever-burgeoning population. And while various possible “solutions” have been thrown out, such as building sustainable floating cities in the ocean, migrating to Mars seems to be the most popular idea.
The proposal may seem radical and maybe even unfeasible to some, at least within this half of the century anyway, but there are people who think it’s doable, including big names in space travel like SpaceX’s Elon Musk. In fact, there’s even a project that’s already taking steps toward getting humans to the Red Planet within the next decade, called Mars One, and they’ve been gradually whittling down the Homo sapiens they think would be suitable to help establish a permanent settlement.
Since the application process opened in 2013, more than 202,000 aspiring astronauts applied to the nonprofit foundation to help make this dream become a reality. This was rapidly slashed to just over 1,000 in the first round, then to 660. Now, after online interviews with Mars One medical director Norbert Kraft, these have been culled to just 100.
“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp in a news release. “These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”
The round three survivors consist of 50 men and 50 women, ranging in age from 19 to 60. Thirty nine come from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa and seven from Australia. A diverse bunch, to say the least—one candidate, who calls himself “M1-K0,” claims to be a Martian himself, one of the first four to arrive on Earth. Hmm.
Although the lucky 100 have proved themselves as individuals, they now have to demonstrate that they can work effectively as part of a team, so the fourth round will consist of group challenges designed to test their willingness to deal with the strains of living on Mars. After this, the remaining candidates will be split into groups of four which will receive training in a replica base on Earth. The final group will consist of 24 cosmonauts who will become employees of Mars One, helping the project prepare for colonization in 2025.
But before these dedicated explorers make their way on the grueling 7-month journey through the solar system, Mars One intends to first send out communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions, which will set up the outpost where the human crew will live and work.
If all of this has left you feeling gutted you didn’t apply—don’t worry, apparently new application opportunities will arise in the near future.