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In 2024, Dutch company Mars One plans to send audience-selected human representatives to the red planet.
The whole world will watch them on television as they compete and prepare for space travel, and eventually colonize Mars.
International broadcasting will be the primary funding for this $6 billion adventure, which means you could be able to watch it at home, from your TV.
If this sounds a little bit Hunger Games-y to you, minus the killing, you’re not the only one. But if there’s two things the modern world loves, it’s space and a good show.
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Who is going?
Mars One is currently conducting a global search for the right four candidates to make the first trip to Mars. They have accepted applications from every country around the world (though the official language on Mars will be English.)
More than 200,000 people applied during the first round, their official website reports, and 660 currently remain in the running.
Leaving the planet may seem daunting, but these numbers show that the world is full of brave applicants — no need for reaping.
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Application fees varied by nation, costing Americans $38, for example, and Mexicans only $15. Even so, the price is not exactly steep, no matter where you come from. But the price of leaving Earth for good? A little higher, perhaps.
What is the selection process?
Mars One has completed Round 1 of four rounds, in which applicants submitted videos online (once approved they can be watched by anyone here.) Applicants, who must be over 18 and of good health, will be picked through four rounds.
Round 2 is a physical health assessment, followed by an exclusive interview with the selection committee. Several interviews have been aired online, and highlight one rather morbid aspect of the venture: unlike in the Hunger Games, where one fictional “tribute” can go home at the end, all participants are real and complex humans, and will eventually die on Mars.
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Round 3 is the regional selection round, in which 20-40 applicants from each region will compete in challenges demonstrated to determine their suitability, which will likely be broadcasted on live TV. The audience will select one winner per region, and the selection committee will select additional participants.
Round 4 will be an “international event” broadcasted to all districts — or countries, rather — worldwide.
The selection committee will split the applicants into groups and have them demonstrate their ability to live under harsh conditions and work together under stress.
Of these competitors, six groups of four will “win” the honor of becoming full-time Mars One employees, though only one group will go to Mars on the first trip.
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Following this last round will be eight years of intense and secluded training to prepare the teams for their departure.
A new group of astronauts will land every two years, the company speculates.
How will Mars be colonized?
According to CNN, each Mars One Lander will be able to carry about 5,511 pounds of “useful load.” These capsules will also become part of the settlement, in which the astronauts will live and work.
Water will be extracted from Martian soil, and oxygen will be produced by splitting this water into hydrogen and oxygen. As new astronauts arrive, the population and environment will grow steadily.
But the trip there will not be easy. The travel to Mars will be 7-8 months long, Mars One warns, in cramped space with no showers other than moist towelettes.
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Though the initial stage of applications is over, you can track their progress of Martian hopefuls on Mars One’s website. Stay tuned, because your say could help determine the planet’s first settlers.
Mars One will send their first test ship to Mars in 2018, and the first round of astronauts will follow in 2024.
Those of us on home base will be witness to the legacy of the first beings to take their first breathe on Earth, and their last 33 billion miles away.
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