Mars One has launched its astronaut selection program for the first humans to set foot on Mars and make it their home. Mars One invites would-be Mars settlers from anywhere in the world to submit an online application — the first of the four rounds in the selection procedure. Round One will run for over five months and end on 31st August 2013. Applicants selected at the end of this round will include the first crew that will land on Mars in 2023. Mars One selection committees will hone the search for the first crew in three subsequent rounds and further training.
We are very excited about launching the selection program. Round One is where we open the doors to Mars for everyone on Earth. This is an international mission and it is very important for the project that anyone anywhere can ask themselves: Do I want this? Am I ready for this? If the answer is yes then we want to hear from you,” said Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of Mars One. In the past year, Mars One has received 10,000 messages from prospective applicants from more than 100 countries. Mars One expects an unprecedented number of applications and even more Internet users visiting the application website to support their favorite candidates. Applicants are given the choice of publicly sharing and promoting their application page. While Mars One experts will choose which candidates progress to Round 2, everyone will have the opportunity to know the aspiring settlers and give them their vote of confidence. Applicants will pay a small administration fee that varies across nations according to their per capita GDP. The variable fee makes the program equally accessible for applicants from all nations and also reduces the number of insincere entries.
Mars One is looking for applicants who are both mature and interesting. Beyond Round Four,in the seven-year period preceding their flight to Mars,all the potential settlers will be given the skills they will need on Mars and on their journey there. No particular academic or professional background is considered a prerequisite for selection. “Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria,” said Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s Chief Medical Director and former NASA senior researcher. “For this mission of permanent settlement we are more concerned with how well each astronaut lives and works with others and their ability to deal with a lifetime of challenges.” Throughout the astronaut selection program, Mars One will select applicants who have good physical and mental health and show five key character traits: Resilience, Adaptability, Curiosity, Ability to trust others, and Creativity/Resourcefulness. In the last stage when 24-40 candidates have been fully trained and qualified, the final decision of choosing the first settlers will be decided by an audience vote. “In a 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were, just like Neil Armstrong has etched in our memories forever. This makes the selection of the first crew to a different planet a very important election; in my opinion more important than most elections. We hope the whole world will join Mars One in our democratic search of the envoys of mankind to Mars, ” Lansdorp said.