And then there were 1,058. Mars One, the nonprofit organization that wants to send colonists on a one-way lifetime trip to Mars, announced on Monday that it has narrowed its applicant pool down from 200,000 people to just over a thousand. The applicants were notified by email and Mars One says that the next selection phase in 2014 will reduce the pool still further in the search for the first settlers to go to the Red Planet in 2025.

At first glance, the Mars One proposition seems like a 21st century take on Dr Samuel Johnson’s opinion of traveling by ship: It’s like being in a jail, with the chance of dying by explosive decompression. However, within two weeks of applications opening in April 2012, over 78,000 people applied to settle on Mars without a chance of returning to Earth. Though the applications never reached the anticipated half million mark, 200,000 did put their names in by the August 2013 cutoff.

The 1,058 remaining applicants were selected based on criteria that included health, psychological and emotional stability, resilience, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, creativity, and resourcefulness. In a press release, Mars One says that those applicants who did not make the cut may reapply at a later date, which is yet to be announced.

“We’re extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications.” says Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp.” However, the challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously. We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude!”

According to Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mars One and recipient of the 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award, the next phase of selection will be more rigorous, though the details will depend on negotiations with media companies involved in the venture. “The next several selection phases in 2014 and 2015 will include rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of our remaining candidates. We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind. This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants, and the communities they’re a part of.”

In addition to the colonist selection, Mars One recently announced that it is developing a Mars lander and orbiter as the vanguard to select a settlement area and prepare it in anticipation of the first arrivals scheduled for 2025.

Source: Mars One

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