A Dutch non-profit called Mars One is on a mission to send four people to the red planet in 2024, but it’s a one-way ticket. The four who are selected will leave behind family and friends forever, never to return to Earth.
But that hasn’t stopped over 200,000 people from applying for the chance.
The ticket to Mars is one-way for some very practical reasons. According to the physicist behind the Mars One project, a one way trip to Mars is simply more technologically feasible. And, of course, it’s much cheaper. Just a one-way trip to Mars is going to cost an estimated $6 billion — and the funds have yet to be raised.
NASA has no public plans for a trip to Mars until the 2030s, and it is assumed that when that does happen, it will be NASA astronauts who make the actual trip, which is much different than the people being selected for Mars One.
With 10 years until the scheduled take-off, Mars One founders believe they don’t necessarily need people who are experienced, educated astronauts. What they need are people (four for the first trip, and four for every two years after that) who they believe can withstand the psychological challenges associated with the fact that they will be spending the rest of their lives with only each other, with no chance of seeing friends, family, or Earth again, on a planet that no human being has ever set foot upon.
The original 200,000 applicants have been narrowed down to 660 people in a two-year selection process that will be winnowed down to 24 this Friday. Those 24 will be separated into six teams of four each, and will spend the next 10 years of their lives training and preparing for a trip that, as of today, is not yet feasible or funded. To help with the funding, Mars One plans to broadcast the experiences of those 24 people as they compete against each other in order to determine which group gets to go to Mars first.
Mars One has raised only 1/8000th of its total sum needed.
The lack of feasibility and funding has made many people skeptics. The technology isn’t where it needs to be, some say, while others doubt the ability of Mars One to raise the money needed. Others are simply convinced that the entire trip is a scam.
But no one can prove that it is impossible, and that was enough for over 200,000 people to apply.
And the applicants aren’t crazy, either. In fact, most of them seem to be normal. A number of them are highly educated. Of the 660 applicants left, 63 have PhDs. Twelve of the applicants are physicians. There are lawyers, veterans, businessmen, and pilots. They range in age from 18 at the time of application to 71, and they come from all over the world.
And they want to go to Mars. And they want it badly enough to leave everything and everyone behind.
Mars has always held a fascination for people, and speculation about whether or not there is life on Mars is a constant in the science world. Click here to read about Mars Curiosity Rover’s latest find that has many wondering if it’s evidence of alien life.
And tell us in the comments below — would you be willing to leave it all behind for a one-way ticket to Mars?
[Image via gizmag.com]