The Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which hopes to put the first boots on the Red Planet in 2023, released its basic astronaut requirements today (Jan. 8), setting the stage for a televised global selection process that will begin later this year.
Mars One isn't zeroing in on scientists or former fighter pilots; anyone who is at least 18 years old can apply to become a Mars colony pioneer. The most important criteria, officials say, are intelligence, good mental and physical health and dedication to the project, as astronauts will undergo eight years of training before launch.
"Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria," Norbert Kraft, Mars One's chief medical director and a former NASA researcher, said in a statement. "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."
Mars One plans to launch a series of robotic cargo missions between 2016 and 2021, which will build a habitable Red Planet outpost ahead of the arrival of the first four colonists in 2023. More settlers will arrive every two years after that. There are no plans to return the pioneers to Earth.
Anyone think this will actually happen? I have a hard time believing any company would pull this off in just 10 years time, but I could be wrong! Would you want to sign up for this?
Edit: More information here: http://mars-one.com/en/
Apparently they're going to fund this by documenting the whole thing as a reality TV series, from the selection all the way up to the colonization of mars. TV ratings will fund space travel.
[Edited 2013-01-12 17:46:54]