Applicants wanted! Fancy a one-way trip to Mars?

Emma Sleight

Would you like to reach the ultimate in extreme travel and exploration and go on a trip to the final frontier: Space?

Then you're in luck. Because the non-profit organisation Mars One has opened applications for wannabe astronauts to bag a ticket to Mars.

For those partial to unchartered territories, rugged terrain and more than a touch of adrenaline, this could be for you.

There is a catch though: the trip is one-way.

Founders of the expedition aim to settle volunteer astronauts on the red planet and set up a permanent colony by 2023. But they stress that explorers shouldn't expect to be able to return to earth.

Apparently the successful applicants will be trained physically and psychologically and use existing technology for all aspects of the project.

Energy will be generated from solar panels, water will be recycled and the astronauts will grow their own food.

The plan is to to have fresh recruits join the settlement every two years, bringing top-up supplies with them.

The Mars One website states: "To accomplish this, Mars One has developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, in motion through the integration of existing suppliers and experts in space exploration."

Unsurprisingly, the plan has attracted scepticism from scientists and astronauts alike.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Veronica Bray, from the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, said that the Martian surface is extremely hostile to life. There's no liquid water, temperatures are extreme and radiation is a constant concern.

She said: "Radiation exposure is a concern, especially during the trip. This can lead to increased cancer risk, a lowered immune system and possibly infertility."

"I have no doubt that we could physically place a human being on Mars. Whether they'd be able to survive for an extended period of time is much more doubtful."

And Stan Love, an astronaut with NASA, questioned the machinery the prospective astronauts would be sent into space with.

However, the founders of Mars One are confident, despite not having yet raised the £3.8billion required to send the first group of astronauts out.

Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp told the BBC: "This will be the biggest thing that humanity has ever done. In 15 years people will still be watching."

"Exploring our world, and now beyond, is what humans do, it's in our genome. The settlers' dream of going to Mars will come true."

It seems his dream is shared by many as thousands of eager applicants who have already applied to be a part of the mission.

The interviews will take on the form of a reality-TV show, which includes selling the TV rights for the selection process.

Mars One must be hoping that this approach will help raise the cash needed to fund this adventurous exploration. Acording to its website, it needs all the help it can get as the total amount raised so far stands at just $95,545.

Madness or the most exciting trip ever conceived? Would you consider applying for this or have you already submitted your video application? Let us know below!

Into extreme travel but think Mars is one step to far? Take a look at our gallery of extreme destinations on Earth.


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