By Deborah Netburn
April 16, 2013, 12:39 p.m.
Aspiring astronauts and wannabe reality TV stars, take note: A nonprofit that aims to send the first human colonists to Mars by 2023 will start taking applications in July of this year.
Mars One, the Netherlands-based organization that wants to turn the colonizing of Mars into a global reality television phenomenon, is encouraging anyone who is interested in space travel to apply.
Previous training in space travel is not required, nor is a science degree of any sort, but applicants do need to be at least 18 years of age and willing to leave Earth forever.
As of now, a flight back to Earth is not part of the Mars One business model.
Further details about the application process will be unveiled Monday at a news conference in New York, where Mars One will officially launch its astronaut application program, but early reports suggest applicants will be asked to send in a one-minute video about why they should be selected to go to Mars.
It may sound hokey, but thousands of people across the globe are intrigued. A press release from Mars One noted that it had already fielded 10,000 applications from people in more than 100 countries around the world.
After a two-year televised selection process, in which the audience can weigh in on who will ultimately make it to the red planet, Mars One hopes to select 24 astronauts who will then endure seven years of training to prepare for their trip. Only four astronauts will travel to Mars at a time.
The plan is to send an additional group of four astronauts to the planet every two years.
Of course, Mars One still has a lot of fundraising and engineering ahead before its mission to Mars becomes a real possibility, co-founder Bas Landsorp told the Los Angeles Times last June.
Mars One estimates it will cost $6 billion, which includes both the flight and the materials needed to make Mars habitable for humans, and for now, at least, he's not saying how much his organization has raised.
Landsorp said he hopes the application fee, which could be around $25, will help raise some funds for the Mars colonization program and that a subsequent reality show might raise more. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sci ... 1649.story