(Sen) - Over 200,000 people have applied to live on Mars as part of an ambitious proposal by private foundation Mars One to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet by 2023.
Amongst the 200,000+ applicants are four who, according to the Mars One mission roadmap, would leave Earth forever in 2022 and arrive on Mars in 2023.
There are no plans for any of the settlers to return to Earth and the chosen few must come to terms with leaving Earth behind for the rest of their lives.
The application process opened on April 22 this year. 202,586 applications from 140 countries were received through the online process. The largest numbers were from the United States (24%), India (10%), China (6%), Brazil (5%), Great Britain (4%), Canada (4%), Russia (4%), Mexico (4%), Philippines (2%), Spain (2%), Colombia (2%), Argentina (2%), Australia (1%), France (1%), Turkey (1%), Chile (1%), Ukraine (1%), Peru (1%), Germany (1%), Italy (1%) and Poland (1%).
Over the next two years the applicants will be whittled down to a small number of teams (six to ten) each consisting of four people.
A TV programme, with public voting, is central to the selection process and, more importantly, to raise the money to fund the vision.
The final teams will all undergo seven years of training for their emigration to Mars, with a global TV show's public voting deciding the first team to leave for the Red Planet.
Gallery: Mars One
Screening the 200,000+ applications is going to take some time, though Mars One expects to have completed the screening by the end of this year. This will require the organisation to screen nearly 3,000 applicants a day between now and December.
Candidates through to round three would be interviewed by the Mars One selection committee. Round three also envisages public voting through television. After interviews, twenty to forty applicants from each region would appear in a TV show with a winner being chosen from each region. Additional participants would be selected by the Mars One panel to go through with the audience selections to the final round.
Those through to round four will need to be conversational in English, with the final selection process being billed as a global TV show. The global TV audience would select the final six to ten teams of four who would become full time employees of the Mars One astronaut corps. The organisation cautions that some individuals or teams could be de-selected during the seven years of training.
A global TV show would decide which of the final teams would be the first Mars One crew.