Want To Live (And Die) on Mars? These 200,000 People Do.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 10 2013 6:36 PM

Want To Live (And Die) on Mars? These 200,000 People Do.

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Mars' own Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris, is shown on the surface of the planet in this composite image made aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Photo by NASA/Arizona State University via Getty Images

When most people contemplate death and dying, they update their will or get a timeshare in Boca Raton. Others (many more than you might think), however, apply for a one way trip to Mars to live out their days in a still hypothetical Martian colony. 

The “Mars One” project, which has been soliciting applications for prospective space pioneers to live on Mars, announced on Monday it had received over 200,000 applications from more than 140 countries. The applicants are still a long way off from Martian living, however, as six-to-ten teams of four people are set to be selected by 2015 to undergo seven years of training. Then, in 2023, “one of these teams will become the first humans ever to land on Mars and live there for the rest of their lives,” reads the "Mars One" website.

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The countries that had the applications were: U.S. (24 percent), India (10 percent), China (6 percent), Brazil (5 percent), and the U.K. (4 percent).

If you’d like a taste of who might be representing humanity on Mars, National Geographic has compiled a greatest hits of the video applications.

The initial mission to Mars will cost $6 billion, according to National Geographic, and “the plan is to have private financial backing, including a television reality show to help raise the funds for the maiden voyage in a decade’s time—and subsequent missions slated to follow every two years after that.”

Unsurprisingly, NASA is skeptical of the feasibility of the “Mars One” project and others have questioned the business plan, technical feasibility and potential health risks of the proposed colony, according to the Guardian.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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