Eventually, 24 will be selected to make up six crews of four, which Mars One says they hope to launch to the Red Planet every two years from 2024, with the aim of starting a colony there.
The Dutch non-profit hopes to use existing technology to carry out the mission. However, the planet has always been a difficult target for exploration, with only around half of all unmanned missions succeeding. The journey itself is expected to take around seven months, and a recent MIT study found that, should the first explorers succeed in landing, using current technology they would likely survive just 68 days.
So what kind of person chooses to go to Mars on a one-way mission? The list of 100 finalists includes scientists and academics as well as those who are just seeking the ultimate adventure. We spoke to two of the British hopefuls.
Like many who applied, the chance to join the small group of people who have left our planet is the biggest draw for Weedon. But there are still questions over whether the mission will even happen. As well as the MIT study raising doubts over the technology, Mars One must raise an estimated $6 billion, which it hopes to achieve through various methods, including crowdfunding, sponsorship and sales.
But Weedon is optimistic. “I definitely think it will happen, but in terms of the current roadmap, I just don’t know whether it will happen on time,” she says. “A lot will depend on the unmanned missions planned for 2018.”
Not daunted by the prospect of leaving behind friends and family, Weedon believes that the one-way trip is what needs to be done if we are ever to colonize Mars. “Leaving will be a test of character, but we will still have contact through emails — it’s not game over.”