For those of you who would like to go to Mars and be one of the first humans to set foot on the Red Planet, this may be the ticket. As announced in this morning’s press briefing, Mars One is now searching for the first astronauts to send to Mars in 2023. Yes, really.
The goal is to establish the first settlement with a self-sustaining habitat, followed by more settlers every two years.
With a lot of uncertainty and no firm timeline yet as to when NASA will send its first astronauts to Mars, the idea of a private organization doing it may seem like a pipedream, but the Mars One effort seems to be a serious attempt at doing just that.
From the Mars One website:
“Mars One is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars through the integration of existing, readily available technologies from industry leaders world-wide. Mars One intends to fund this decade-long endeavor by involving the whole world as the audience of an interactive, televised broadcast of every aspect of this mission, from the astronaut selections and their preparations to the arrival on Mars and their lives on the Red Planet.”
It should be noted also that this is completely separate from the previously reported Inspiration Mars project, which aims to send two astronauts to Mars in 2018, do a flyby (no landing) and then return to Earth.
Mars One, however, would be a one-way trip, with no coming back. So far, about 10,000 applications have been received from people in over 100 countries.
As Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Director for Mars One and former NASA senior researcher, explains, “Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria. For this mission of permanent settlement we are more concerned with how well each astronaut lives and works with others and their ability to deal with a lifetime of challenges.”
The selection process consists of four rounds, beginning with an online application (Round 1), which ends on August 31, 2013.
Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of Mars One, sums it up this way: “In a 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were, just like Neil Armstrong has etched in our memories forever. This makes the selection of the first crew to a different planet a very important election; in my opinion more important than most elections. We hope the whole world will join Mars One in our democratic search of the envoys of mankind to Mars.”
The Mars One endeavour is sure to provoke controversy, but if you think you have what it takes to go to and live on Mars, then get your application in!
More information about Mars One is available here.
This article was first published on Examiner.com.