Dutch company Mars One plans to colonise the Red Planet in 2022, and more than 100,000 hopefuls have applied to be chosen to relocate to the planet permanently.
Mars One started to look for volunteer astronauts last Monday. The successful volunteers will depart for the Red Planet in nine years time, and will land seven months later in 2023. Anyone above the age of 18 is eligible to apply, as long as they are willing to pay the application fee, which is between £3 and £46, depending on nationality. A group of 40 multicontinental astronauts will be selected this year, before undergoing vigorous space training over the next eight years.
Bas Lansdorp, Mars One CEO and co-founder, explained why an application fee was important: “We wanted it to be high enough for people to have to really think about it and low enough for anyone to be able to afford it.”
The first one-way mission will cost £3.8 billion, and will be funded by sponsors and publishing deals, for broadcasting rights to the footage captured on Mars.
Each astronaut will be allowed to take 2500kgs of luggage with them in capsules. After eight missions, Mars One estimates that there will be 20,000kg of provisions on the planet, including food and solar panels.
Lansdorp explained that water and oxygen will be produced on Mars:
“We will evaporate [water from the soil] and condense it back into its liquid state,” he said to CNN.
“From the water, we can make hydrogen and oxygen, and we will use the oxygen for a breathing atmosphere inside the habitat. This will be prepared by the rovers autonomously before the humans arrive.”
Many space experts believe these space travel missions will be too dangerous, due to the radiation risks involved.