Excerpt from mashable.com
Only 100 people are still competing for four seats on a one-way trip to Mars advertised by Dutch nonprofit Mars One.
In its latest round of cuts, the foundation cut its applicant pool from 660 to 100 finalists on Tuesday. More than 200,000 people across the globe originally applied when Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp first announced intentions to send what would be humanity’s first mission to the Red Planet by 2025.
The organization plans to send an initial four settlers to the planet to establish a permanent human settlement in the next decade then continue to shuttle people out every few years. The colony will supposedly include livable habitats, greenhouses, rovers and everything else a human would need to survive life on the barren, oxygen-free wasteland.
The remaining finalists are equally divided between men and women with 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa and seven from Oceania. The selection process for the latest round consisted of interviews with the organization’s chief medical officer Norbert Kraft, who asked each of the candidates to demonstrate their team spirit, motivation and understanding of the risks, according to the announcement.
In order to choose the final four candidates, Lansdorp has said that he wants to run a televised reality show-style competition where teams of four compete in challenges that test their ability to withstand Mars-like conditions, and the world will vote to decide the winners. Advertising revenue from the competition will go toward defraying some of the monumental cost of the mission, which will also be supplemented by crowdfunding and private contributions.
Plenty of obstacles stand in the way of the mission.
Plenty of obstacles stand in the way of the mission. Aside from the massive amount of funding needed to make such lofty ambitions a reality, there are technical hurdles, health concerns and legal issues to consider.
Lansdorp has pegged the price tag of the first mission at $6 billion, but many have called that number into question. For perspective, NASA’s Orion mission to Mars is expected to cost at least $100 billion. Mars One also alludes to using the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket as a launcher, but it has yet to lock down a deal with the company.
A damning report released by MIT researchers last fall also poked holes in the science of the mission. The study’s authors analyzed the equipment plans outlined by the organization and estimated that the Mars One settlers would suffocate or starve within 68 days.
The upcoming round of competition will narrow the field to up to 24 would-be explorers through group challenges and more interviews. After that, the final 24 will be put through training at a replica of the Mars colony on Earth. A full list of candidates still competing for a spot can be found here.