The Mars One project revealed last year will give four people a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: A chance to live on Mars. For good.
The organizers of Mars One, which will be funded by selling TV and media rights to a reality show set on the Red Planet, has so far attracted no fewer than 40,000 applicants. That's despite the fact that those who leave Earth will never be coming back.
Nobel Prize winner Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for the Mars One program, told Slate about the figures, confessing even he had been surprised by the response:
"So far, almost 40,000 people from all over the world have applied to become Martians. This is many more than I had imagined, although some psychologists and cultural anthropologists had apparently predicted there would be at least a million candidates. Everyone is now being asked about their motivation, and thousands of replies have already been collected."
Hooft added the astronaut selection process would kick off later this year and would be funded with investments from companies in the Netherlands and South Africa.
He also addressed some of the long-term goals of Mars One, revealing how he dreams of a grand, self-perpetuating Martian colony:
"The ultimate goal is a community of 20 settlers. In the distant future, the colony will not only expand through immigration, but also through population growth. I realize, of course, it might take some time before the first child is born on Mars - and making the colony childproof will be a challenge, as I am well aware since becoming a grandfather."
What say you, readers? Anybody tempted to sign up for a life on Mars?