Alan Boyle of NBCnew.com is reporting this morning (February 16, 2015) that the Dutch-based company Mars One has chosen 50 men and 50 women to compete for the chance to take a one-way trip to Mars. Get this. The Mars One project plans to put on a reality-TV competition to select 24 prospective crew members for missions to Mars, starting as early as 2024. Winners would be expected to start up a permanent colony on the Red Planet. They understand they will never return to Earth.
Who would do such a thing? The 100 finalists are people from around the world – 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania – selected from a group of 202,586 people, who signed up in 2013 to be considered for the journey by Mars One. The company – which is organized as a not-for-profit foundation – says it chose the list of 100 competitors after going through interviews with chief medical officer Norbert Kraft, who said in a statement issued Monday that the candidates during their interviews …
… had a chance to show their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of this life changing expedition.
Enter reality TV. The next step will be to compose teams from the 100 finalists that Mars One says:
… can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars. The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.
Mars One estimates that it will need billions of dollars to conduct its Mars missions, including a robotic rover mission planned for launch in 2018. According to Alan Boyle:
The money question is the biggest unknown right now, but last year an MIT study concluded that the venture’s plan to send humans to Mars and keep them alive was ‘overly optimistic’ on technical grounds.
Maybe someone should tell that to the candidates. Or maybe getting to Mars isn’t the point at all.
— D.A.McGrath (@liteandportable) February 16, 2015
Bottom line: The private venture Mars One has announced the selection of 50 men and 50 women who will compete to take one-way trips to Mars, beginning as early as 2024.
Via Alan Boyle and Mars One
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.