Space’s First Ex-Pats? 100,000 People Want To Leave Earth For Mars, Never Return

The Mars One project hopes to colonize Mars starting in 2022, and, to accomplish that goal, it is offering one-way trips to a select few. According to the project, more than 100,000 people have offered to flee Earth in the hopes of living on the red planet.

Among current applicants are 30,000 American’s who are willing to leave behind their home and country for a “better” life on Mars.

The projects website showcases some of the people who have applied, but there are many more applicants who are not highlighted at this time.

The agency has the goal of colonizing Mars by 2022, well ahead of NASA’s goal which pushes into the 2030s.

Despite questions of fundraising and the ability to actually survive on Mars, applicants flooded the company with requests to join the Mars One Project.

Bas Lansdorp, Mars One CEO and co-founder, tells CNN:

“There is also a very large number of people who are still working on their profile, so either they have decided not to pay the application fee, or they are still making their video or they’re still filling out the questionnaire or their resume. So the people that you can see online are only the ones that have finished and who have set their profiles as public.”

The application fee is only $36 in the United States and $15 in Mexico. Considering the projects estimated cost of $6 billion, the application fee is only a very small part of the project’s fundraising efforts.

The Mars One Project is open to anyone 18 or older, and application fees are based on the GDP of the applicants country.

Mars One will select 40 qualified applicants before the end of 2013. The first four applicants chosen will leave for Mars in September 2022 and land in April 2023. The group will be made up of a multontinental group of participants.

Two years later, the second group will arrive on Mars, never to return.

Once on the planet, permanent settlements will be setup in which astronauts can live and research the red planet.

Astronauts chosen for the project will undergo an eight-year training program. Training will include how to repair habitat structures, grow vegetables in confined spaces, and address “both routine and serious medical issues such as dental upkeep, muscle tears and bone fractures.”

The red planet will be colonized with the help of 5,511 pounds of “useful load” material which will reach Mars with each lander. Even the lander capsules will be used as part of the settlement.

Mars One Project

While some food and water will be provided, the planet’s first settlers will ultimately need to manufacture those required items on their own.

Water will be evaporated and condensed back into its liquid state. Water will also be used to make hydrogen and oxygen for breathing purposes. Before astronauts even arrive, rovers will autonomously create the foundations needed for humans to survive on Mars.

While the Mars One Project sounds like fun for our planet’s biggest adventure seekers, it does come with some very real threats. Radiation on the planet increases an astronauts risk of cancer. In fact, NASA will not allow its own astronauts to stay in space for more than 300 to 360 days because of radiation risks. The Mars One trip alone would expose participants to the maximum allowed radiation for a NASA astronaut’s entire career.

Humanity vs Space Radiation

Of course, there are still questions surrounding the feasibility of the Mars One Project. For example, can a fully sustainable commercial space travel program really be setup in just nine years. Currently there is no available technology that can shield astronauts from the levels of radiation they will experience. Major breakthroughs in radiation shielding and space travel must be discovered before the Mars One Project can even think about moving forward. Scientists are also working on better shielding from asteroid fragments, which can easily pierce the hull of current spacecraft.

While it may be a pipedream at this time, the Mars One Project nonetheless has managed to attract 100,000 applicants who are willing to leave their country and become Space’s first ex-pats.

Here’s a trailer the team at the Mars One Project put together to tout its lofty ambitions: