Over 1,000 chosen for one-way #Mars reality-TV mission

from channelnewsasia.com: More than 1,000 candidates — from 200,000 hopefuls — have been
chosen to train for a private Mars colonisation mission to be partly
funded by a reality-TV show following their training and subsequent
, organisers said Thursday.

They are to be whittled down to
just 24, who will be sent over six launches starting in 2024, according
to Mars One, the Dutch-based non-profit group behind the audacious

The only catch is that the space-bound settlers will be
on a one-way ticket to the Red Planet which lies a minimum 55 million
kilometres (34 million miles) — six months’ travel — from Earth.

Costs are too high to contemplate a return trip.

Mars One said
the selected 1,058 would-be emigrants to Mars, from 140 countries, were
informed on December 30 they were the lucky few deemed to meet the
criteria — including an “indomitable spirit”, “good judgement”, “a good
sense of play”, disease- and drug-free, English-speaking — to be
interplanetary pioneers.

“The challenge with 200,000 applicants is
separating those who 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,”
said organisation co-founder Bas Landsdorp.

group’s chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, said the candidates will
now be called in for “rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with
focus on testing (their) physical and emotional capabilities” over the
next two years.


Reality TV

The candidates
will now be narrowed down in a number of phases starting this year.

Mars One said that process was caught up in “ongoing negotiations” with
media companies over television rights.

The organisers announced
last month it signed a US$250,000 (180,000-euro) contract with US group
Lockheed Martin Space Systems
to build a concept landing module that
would be sent in a 2018 unmanned test flight.

It hopes to add more
sponsors and partners to its roster to help cover the US$6 billion cost
of its plan, which would see self-sufficient living modules shot off to

Key to that is an interactive reality-TV programme built
around the project in which the audience decides which candidates make
the cut for the one-way mission, and which stay behind on Earth.

are also to follow the settlement of Mars as those it calls “a new
generation of heroes” conduct experiments and work out how to live long
and happy lives in air-locked pods, growing their own food, far from
their native planet, in a new habitat with a thin, unbreathable
atmosphere and sub-zero average temperatures.

Crowdfunding —
appealing for public donations, mainly through the Internet — is also
meant to finance the task of turning the entrepreneurial dream into

Mars One counts a Dutch 1999 Nobel Physics prize-winner, Gerard ‘t Hoofd, among its supporters.


Many Mars mission failures

there are many sceptics, too. The chief engineer of the US-government
run NASA, Brian Muirhead, reportedly said last April that a commercial
venture to colonise Mars is “way beyond our capability to do today”.
NASA’s plan is to put an astronaut on the dry planet in a couple of

So far, NASA, the Soviet Union and the European Space
Agency are the only one to have made unmanned missions to Mars — more
than half of which have been unsuccessful. Only NASA has landed robots
on the surface.

A Chinese probe launched in 2011 was declared lost
and burned up in a re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere nearly two years
ago. India on December 1 flung its own Mars orbiter into space, aiming
to reach Earth’s neighbour in September this year.

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