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78,000 worldwide apply for 1-way ticket to Mars

| Thursday, May 9, 2013, 9:54 p.m.
NASA
Many dark, porous-textured volcanic rocks -- along with robots such as NASA's retired Spirit rover — await humans who visit Mars.

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 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 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.

The ticket that Mars One hopes to offer is exclusively one way. Once you go, you won't be coming back.

Mars settlers wanted. Send audition tape. No, seriously.

“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 chosen 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. Sort of like getting voted off the planet.

But before you get too excited, keep in mind that Mars One has a lot of fundraising and engineering to do before its mission to Mars becomes a real possibility, co-founder Bas Landsorp said in June.

He estimates it will cost $6 billion to fly people to Mars and make the planet habitable for them when they get there.

Many applicants have made their application videos public on the Mars One website.

As of now, the most popular video was submitted by Anders, a 51-year-old 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.”

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