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No experience needed: Reality TV stars wanted for one-way Mars mission

A scientist wears an Aouda Mars space suit simulator as he stands next to the Hungarian Google Lunar X-Prize Rover Puli in the desert of Morocco in February, 2013. Between Feb. 1 and 28, the Austrian Space Forum – in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center in Marrakesh – conducted an integrated Mars analog field simulation in the northern Sahara near Erfoud in Morocco.


Are you the type to suffer from terrestrial wanderlust? Have you always dreamed of building a colony in space? Would you be prepared to leave Earth indefinitely?

If you (seriously) answered yes any or all of these questions, you might be interested to know that you could one day be selected for a reality-style show that will culminate with a mission to Mars.

No NASA training required or advanced science degree necessary (the ability to suspend your disbelief, however, is essential).

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Mars One, the Netherlands-based non-profit organization behind the project, will be holding an official press conference next Monday to outline the application process. Prospective red planet pioneers will likely undergo a completely different audition than what's required for, say, The Real World – and this is what will be captured on television.

Already, 40,000 people from around the world have expressed interest, according to Gerhard 't Hooft, a Nobel Prize-winning physics professor and ambassador for Mars One, in an interview with New Scientist that was reprinted on Slate.

Evidently, these Martian wannabes are unfazed by the two major caveats.

1. The date of departure is currently set for 2023; yes, as in, a decade from now.

2. The travel is one-way.

Hooft believes that human flights to Mars might very well be a reality within the coming decade.

"Yes, as a scientist I realize that if you just want to learn more about another planet, smart robots might be a better option," he goes on. "But with this project, the ultimate goal is different. It is about whether we are able to survive in a whole new environment. … In a sense, it will be comparable to what human explorers did in the prehistoric age."

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Except that on Earth, humans need not concern themselves with questions relating to oxygen availability and low gravity.

The Los Angeles Times has been among the various news outlets to report on the television project with barely a trace of skepticism.

Additional details on the project include a seven-year training process for the first 20 settlers. Hooft envisions reaching a point where natural population growth is even possible.

"I realize, of course, it might take some time before the first child is born on Mars – and making the colony childproof will be a challenge, as I am well aware since becoming a grandfather."

The project is the brainchild of Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp. No word yet if he's reached out to Simon Cowell or Sharon Osbourne.

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