A bold project to establish a permanent, manned colony on the planet Mars has attracted tens of thousands of applicants in just the few weeks since the project was announced.
The Dutch private venture firm Mars One plans to launch an expedition to the fourth planet from the sun in 2022. As a result of the extreme physiological changes the human body would endure by such a journey and stay on Mars, there would be no coming back. Nevertheless, 78,000 people have submitted applications to become the first immigrants to Mars and the firm expects a total of 500,000 by the closing date of Aug. 31, 2013, according to Mars One co-founder Bas Landsdorp.
Daily life on Mars will be tough; building and maintaining the colony and doing intense geological and physical research amidst some pretty daunting conditions – average minus 58 degree temperatures and an unbreathable atmosphere. The one-way trip will present a lifetime of challenges with a fixed selection of co-workers. Working well with others will be a non-negotiable job requirement says Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft.
Applicants from over 120 nations have uploaded videos to the Mars One website describing why they are good candidates for the mission. A 21-year-old retail employee from the U.S. named Kyle says he wants to be a space explorer “at the forefront of history.” Another 43-year-old electronics engineer says he hopes to “discover new life.”
Unlike the initial era of space travel, organizers are not looking for “Top Gun” type test pilots or trained scientists. Instead, they are looking for people who “have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and ability to trust.” Individuals with finely-tuned social skills and the ability to build and sustain a self-contained human community are at a premium. Also sought are people with high degrees of adaptability, resiliency, creativity, curiosity and resourcefulness.
Mars One intends to generate much of the estimated $6 billion required to launch the mission via the airing of a reality show which will follow the selected candidates through their 8-year training regimen. Thus, candidates will need to be good performers and fund-raisers as well as possess good people skills. So far the amount generated by donations and the sale of mission merchandise stands at less than $100,000.