After the Mars One Project announced that they were accepting applications in 2013, interest was evident. This not-for-profit foundation, now responsible for creating the first mission that will see humans living on another planet, had 202,586 original applicants. Now only 100 hopefuls remain: 50 men and 50 women. They’ll be narrowed down farther, to about 16, before 2024, when the first team of human Martians is scheduled to depart for their new home.
In upcoming selection rounds, candidates will be set against every imaginable hardship of a permanent Martian settlement. They’ll be trained as if they were really going (as a few will) and eliminated or passed on their teamwork abilities. “Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges.” said chief medical officer Dr. Norbert Kraft M.D.
Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies, and Mars One’s mission plan includes technologies that are well-tested and easily available from major companies. However, according to the missions website, “redundancy is extremely important because, unlike the crew aboard the International Space Station, the Mars One crew can’t abandon their mission in case of an emergency.” This redundancy will help to eliminate problems faced by either equipment or supplies failures.
Despite careful planning and minimal risk, there’s still the possibility of danger for the selected Martians. Why are we sending people, then, to do what robots like Spirit and Opportunity already are? Simply put, humans are just better. Unfortunately, rovers are still very limited to the distance they can cover in a day and the obstacles such as rocks and gullies they must overcome. Something that a human could step over remains insurmountable to the rovers.
Besides, each of the selected candidates will have a one-way ticket to Mars. During one of the last great adventures for humanity, they’ll build up the settlement in order to ready the planet for further teams. Eventually Mars One will work towards possible widespread human population. This real-life science fiction story will be an amazing opportunity and experience not only for the individuals participating, but for all of mankind.
The ride to the planet alone should take at least a year. Once the original team has made themselves at home, the next will be on their way and ready to begin helping with expansion, so if this excites you, why not apply?