Mars One has received 202,589 applications from people wanting to volunteer for a one-way trip to the Red Planet. While there are several private space programs setting their sights on a manned Mars mission, Mars One has gotten attention for its unique premise. To fund the mission, Mars One plans to select from volunteers who must meet only one requirement: being at least 18 years of age.
Mars One will also be funding its mission in a unique way. Those who end up participating will become a part of a television reality-style series that follows the astronauts through the training and mission.
According to Singularity Hub, the applicants make up individuals from 140 different countries. The largest group, Americans, made up about a quarter of all applicants, with India and China following.
Much of the trouble with a manned mission to Mars is the matter of a return trip. Mars One plans to side-step this detail by making it a one-way flight. Once on Mars, the astronauts will set up a small colony where they will live out the rest of their lives. Apparently this isn’t an issue for nearly a quarter million people, who seemed eager to join the program.
Despite the enthusiastic response, Mars One won’t send all hopeful volunteers into space. The large group will be gradually narrowed down through three rounds. In the end, up to 10 groups of four will begin training for their mission. However, only one of these groups will be sent on the Mars mission, selected by viewers who follow the Mars One reality series, News.Gnom.Es reports. The first space mission, a resupply trip, will happen in 2015.
Though this application period has officially ended, you don’t have to worry — Mars One says they plan to accept more applications in the near future.
[Image via Space.com / Mars One / Bryan Versteeg]