LOS ANGELES — Do you dream of living on Mars? Then turn on your webcam. You’ve got an application video to make.
Mars One, a Netherlands-based group that wants to turn the colonizing of Mars into a reality television phenomenon, has started accepting applications for its astronaut selection program.
In just two weeks, more than 78,000 people from more than 120 countries have applied.
You don’t need previous experience in rocket science, astronomy or really anything to apply for the Mars One astronaut selection program — but you will need to be at least 18 years old and have nerves of steel.
Mars doesn’t offer much in terms of human comforts: There’s no running water, you can’t breathe the air, the atmosphere won’t protect you from harmful radiation and the surface temperature fluctuates wildly.
Also, the ticket that Mars One hopes to offer up is exclusively one way. Once you go, you won’t be coming back.
Mars settlers wanted. Send audition tape. No, seriously.
Here in America it will cost you $38 to submit an application to https://apply.mars-one.com. You will be asked to answer questions, including why you want to go to Mars and how you feel about never returning to Earth. You will also be asked to describe your sense of humor.
“What we are looking for is not restricted to a particular background,” Norbert Kraft, the chief medical officer for the group, said in a statement. “From Round 1 we will take forward the most committed, creative, resilient and motivated applicants.”
The plan is to have 28 to 40 candidates selected by 2015. Those candidates will train in groups for about seven years and eventually — if the project lasts that long — an audience will vote on which group will go to Mars.
But before you get too excited, keep in mind that 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.
He estimates it will cost $6 billion to fly people to Mars and make the planet habitable for them when they get there. He’s hoping to raise part of those funds through the application process, and with a subsequent worldwide reality show.
Many applicants have made their application video public on the Mars One website and you can filter the videos by country of origin, age, gender and popularity.
As of now, the most popular application video was submitted by Anders, a 51-year-old man from Sweden.
Speaking calmly into his webcam with just slightly accented English, he explains why he wants to go Mars.
“Well, I often fantasize to just get on board a spaceship and go, to explore the universe,” he says. “I often get the feeling that I don’t belong here, but out there. In space.”