The Dutch-based Mars One venture has attracted more than 165,000 people around the world who have voiced their interest in a one-way trip to to the Red Planet, according to NBC News.
There is still more than a week left for more would-be astronauts to join, the group said in a statement. Norbert Kraft, Mars One's chief medical officer, said:
The response to the first round of the astronaut selection program has been tremendous.
We now have a large group of applicants from where we can start our search.
After the August 31 deadline passes, Mars One will review applications to decide who goes on to the next round of the selection process.
Bas Lansdorp, the venture's co-founder and CEO, told NBC News:
We'll select the good ones for Round 2 — this will be the job interview round.
There is no fixed upper limit. ... We expect to announce who passes to Round 2 within two or three months, depending on how many people apply in these last 10 days.
USA is at the top of the list of countries where most applicant are from - 23% of all applicants being Americans, followed by China, Brazil, India, Russia, UK, Mexico, Canada, Spain and the Philippines.
According to the website, there are four rounds in the process:
- Round 1:
All candidates must submit their application on http://apply.mars-one.com. The online application consists of general information about the applicant, a motivational letter, a resume and a one minute video in which the applicant answers some given questions and explains why he or she should be among the first humans who set foot on Mars.
At the end of round one, a team of Mars One experts will decide which applicants will pass to round two.
- Round 2:
Candidates for round 2 will need to get a medical statement of good health from their physician. The applicant will be invited to meet with a Mars One selection committee. After conducting an interview with the candidates, the selection committees determines who will pass to round three.
- Round 3:
This round is the regional selection round, which could be broadcasted on TV and internet in countries around the world. In each region, 20-40 applicants will participate in challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars.
The audience will select one winner per region and Mars One experts will select additional participants to continue to round four.
- Round 4:
Those who pass to round four will be expected to be able to communicate in English. The applicants will be responsible to reach this level of English. Round 4 will be an international event that will be broadcasted throughout the world.
The Mars One selection committee will create international groups from the individual candidates. The groups will be expected to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions, and work together under difficult circumstances.
The groups will receive their first short term training in a copy of the Mars outpost.