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Mars One Slashes Astronaut Selection Pool — But By How Much?

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 30, 2013
Filed under ,

MarsOne_logoMars One has a press release out today saying they have slashed their applicant pool by “99.5%” from more than 200,000 to 1,058. As with previous claims, however, these numbers appear to hyped.

In a September press release, the group said the following (emphasis added):

“In the 5 month application period, Mars One received interest from 202,586 people from around the world, wanting to be amongst the first human settlers on Mars.”

That figure appeared to be the number of people who had registered on the website, not necessarily those who had paid a fee, completed the application and made a video of themselves explaining why they should be selected as required.

When I looked in September, there were only 2,783 videos on the website. That number today is 2,631. Mars One said some people had elected to keep their videos private, but the organization would not say how many. (Today’s press release mentions that a couple of people had submitted their videos in the nude, which would explain why those were not made public. That alone would raise the total by two.)

Whatever the actual number of real applicants, my guess is Mars One was able to eliminate a vast number of them for simply failing to complete the application process. That’s a very good decision; if you can’t get that far, you probably wouldn’t make a very good Mars pioneer.

In any event, here’s the official press release issued today announcing the culling of the Mars-bound herd and the next steps.

Mars One Slashes Applicant Pool by 99.5%

Across the globe, 1058 hopefuls have been selected as candidates to begin human life on Mars in 2025.

On December 30, 2013, Mars One announces the selection of the candidates from the applicant pool of over 200,000 hoping to establish human life on Martian soil. Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp describes the remaining 1058 candidates as our first tangible glimpse into what the new human settlement will truly look like.

Lansdorp says, “We’re extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications. 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!”

The selection criteria are outlined in detail on the Mars One website. All applicants were notified today via e-mail of their application status. For the applicants who were not selected in this round, there is still a chance they could reapply at a later date, which has not yet been determined. According to Lansdorp, the chance for reapplication provides hope. “US astronaut Clayton Anderson was rejected by NASA for its astronaut training program 15 times, yet in 2007 he boarded the Space Shuttle Atlantis for a trip to the International Space Station. He proved anything can happen and the door is never completely closed.”

So what’s next for the 1058 pre-selected Mars hopefuls? Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mars One and recipient of the 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award, says, “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.”

Details of the 2014 selection phases have not been agreed upon due to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection processes. Expect further information to be released in early 2014. Lansdorp says, “We fully anticipate many of our remaining candidates to become celebrities in their towns, cities, and in many cases, countries. It’s about to get very interesting.”

This announcement comes on the heels of a wild finish to 2013 for Mars One. On December 10th, Mars One launched their first ever crowd-funding campaign, focused on bringing funds and attention to the first mission, an unmanned trip to Mars scheduled for 2018. On the same day as the crowd-funding campaign launch, Mars One announced in Washington DC, agreements with aerospace titan Lockheed Martin and the world’s leading small satellite company Surrey Satellite Technology to develop mission plans for the 2018 mission. 2014 figures to be even busier for the team at Mars One than 2013, with multiple applicant selection phases, worldwide education events, and more.

About Mars One: Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation that will establish permanent human life on Mars. Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies. Mars One’s mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide. The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations. It is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars.

2 responses to “Mars One Slashes Astronaut Selection Pool — But By How Much?”

  1. Dennis says:

    That 200.000+ number is indeed all interest they have had in the project, ie… they are also counting the people that submitted for their newsletters as ‘interested in going to Mars’. Or the people that e-mailed Mars One after they revealed themselves to the world asking to be an astronaut.

    So in reality the amount of paying applicants really is below 3.000!

  2. Stuart says:

    Is this the first reality check for Mars One?

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