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More than 1,000 advance to 2nd round for trip to Mars

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By The Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 6:39 p.m.

Last summer, more than 200,000 people applied for a one-way ticket to Mars. This week, 1,058 of them were selected to move on to the next round.

The applications — all in video form — were not sent to NASA, or another national space agency, but to a nonprofit organization called Mars One. Based in the Netherlands, Mars One has the unusual goal of turning the colonization of Mars into a reality show with a global audience.

The call for applicants to move to Mars went out in April. Anyone older than 18 was invited to send in a video in which they explained why they wanted to go to Mars, and how they felt about never returning to Earth. They were also asked to describe their sense of humor.

In this first narrowing down of future Mars colonizers, the Mars One team focused on choosing people who were physically and mentally capable of becoming human ambassadors to Mars, Bas Landsorp, co-founder of Mars One, said in a statement.

Those who were taking the mission less seriously were excluded.

The pool of selected applicants includes 472 women and 586 men. More than half of them are younger than 35, but 26 are older than 56. The oldest applicant to move on to the next round is 81.

The contenders hail from 107 countries. The United States is the most heavily represented, with 297 applicants moving on to round two. Canada had the second biggest showing, with 75 applicants.

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