Applicants wanted for a one-way ticket to Mars
Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet.
Uncharted waters, mountains or far away lands have always drawn explorers. History books show that desire for adventure, even in the face of extreme danger, did not deter the likes of Columbus or Magellan.
So it is perhaps not surprising that Mars One has already received thousands of prospective applicants. But there is no return - unlike the mission which hopes to fly to Mars and back in 2018.
Future explorers take note. Applicants must be resilient, adaptable, resourceful and must work well within a team. The whole project will be televised, from the reality TV style selection process, to landing and beyond.
On a visit to the BBC's London office, Mars One's co-founder Bas Lansdorp explains why this would be a one-way flight.
During the seven-to-eight month journey, astronauts will lose bone and muscle mass. After spending time on Mars' much weaker gravitational field, it would be almost impossible to readjust back to Earth's much stronger gravity, says Landsorp.
Successful applicants will be trained physically and psychologically. The team will use existing technology for all aspects of the project. Energy will be generated from solar panels, water will be recycled and extracted from soil and the astronauts will grow their own food - they will also have an emergency ration and regular top-ups as new explorers join every two years.
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