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Have you got the right stuff for a one way mission to Mars?

Jenny Winder, News Writer
Jan 10, 2013, 8:00 UTC

Sen—Mars One, the organization that hopes to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2023, has issued the base requirements for its pending Astronaut Selection Program. This is the first step toward the global selection process which will begin this year.

The astronaut program is open to anyone on planet Earth that meets the base criteria. You don't need to have military training, experience in flying aircraft or even a science degree. Applicants must be intelligent, creative, psychologically stable and physically healthy. They need to be supported by personal drive and motivation, and be willing to dedicate eight years to training and learning before making the journey to their new home on Mars.

Norbert Kraft, former Sr. Research Associate at NASA and Chief Medical Director for the Mars One Foundation, states "Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others, in the long journey from Earth to Mars and for a lifetime of challenges ahead. Psychological stability, the ability to be at your best when things are at their worst is what Mars One is looking for. If you are the kind of person that everyone chooses to have on their island, then we want you to apply."

Though the exact upper age limits have not yet been determined, applicants must be at least 18 years of age. They must have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and the ability to trust. They need to be resilient, adaptable, curious, creative and resourceful. Mars One is not seeking specific skill sets such as medical doctors, pilots or geologists. Instead, candidates will receive a minimum of eight years extensive training while employed by Mars One. While any formal education or real-world experience may be an asset, all skills required on Mars will be acquired during the years of preparation and training.

The Mars One Foundation will employ the astronauts during their Earth-based training, which will include simulation of life on Mars in purpose built bases on Earth. Robotic cargo missions are planned for launch between 2016 and 2021 to establish a habitable settlement, provided the funding from television revenue and sponsorship enables the project to achieve its ambitions.

The final Astronaut candidates will be selected from the global applications through a combination of critical review by Mars One experts and a global, televised program which ultimately selects which set of four astronauts from those assembled will be the first to go to Mars.

Once on Mars, the primary responsibility for the astronauts would be to keep everything, and everyone, up and running. This would be a particular challenge for the first teams who would need the skills to solve any potential problem. The combined skill sets of each team member must cover a very wide range of disciplines. Mars One stress a grounded, deep sense of purpose would help each astronaut maintain his or her psychological stability and focus as they work together toward a shared and better future.

Once on Mars, there are no plans for a return trip to Earth. Mars would be home.