According to a daring plan, 24 representatives of humanity will be sent over six launches in 2024 on the greatest quest in history – to colonize Mars. And what better way to decide who our ambassadors in space will be, than a reality TV-show?
Roughly 200,000 hopefuls applied for the mission to Mars, and now this number has been reduced to a mere 1,058 would-be interstellar emigrants from 140 countries. The lucky few were informed on December 30, 2013, that they had the right stuff.
In order to become an interplanetary pioneer, the chosen ones had to meet the criteria – including an “indomitable spirit,” “good judgement,” “a good sense of play,” disease- and drug-free, and, of course, English-speaking.
Behind this six-billion-dollar endeavor is the Dutch-based non-profit group Mars One. CEO and co-founder Bas Lansdorp explained the difficulties his organization faced during the selection process of all the applications for the space mission.
“The challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating those we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously. We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude,” Lansdorp said.
Still, Mars One’s hopes of starting humanity’s first colony in space is as far from reality as, well, reality TV. The non-profit it still trying to raise enough money to get the project off the ground.
It hopes to sign contracts with media companies over television rights so viewers across Earth can watch as the space cadets are narrowed down to 24 through “rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing (their) physical and emotional capabilities.”
There are only two catches with this trip to Mars: It’s a one-way ticket and the audience of the TV-show decides which candidates make the cut, and which stay behind on Earth.
So far, Nasa, the Soviet Union, and the European Space Agency are the only ones to have made missions to Mars – more than half of which ended in disaster. Nasa is the only space agency to successfully put robots on the planet’s surface.
A Chinese probe launched in 2011 burned to a crisp upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. On December 1, 2013, India flung its own Mars orbital into space, aiming to reach the red planet in September 2014.
Nasa chief engineer, Brian Muirhead, said that a commercial venture to colonize Mars is “way beyond our capability” and that putting an astronaut on the planet’s surface “is a couple of decades away.”