About 78,000 people have applied for a one-way trip to Mars as the planet’s first colonizers, the nonprofit organization Mars One announced Tuesday.
“Inhabitants Wanted” is the tagline for Mars One, whose goal is to establish human settlement on the Red Planet in 2023. The nonprofit plans to land four people on Mars in 2023, with more colonists arriving every two years after that.
The Netherlands-based organization began taking applications April 22.
"With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history," said Mars One CEO and co-founder Bas Lansdorp in a statement. "These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants."
Landing four people on Mars in 2023 is estimated to cost about $6 billion. In order to cover costs Mars One plans to stage a global reality TV show that will document all phases of the mission, including applicant selection and the first few years on the planet.
Applicants must be 18 years or older and submit a video explaining why they want to colonize Mars. The videos can be viewed on the website.
There appears to be only one applicant from the age 70 to 82 group as of Saturday. Sanford is 71 years old. He is a medical doctor who is board certified in psychology. He has a background in physics and a degree in chemistry. His application says he speaks three languages: German, French and some Chinese. “I’m really excited about this adventure,” he said in his application video.
As of Tuesday, May 7, Mars One has applications from more than 120 countries. There are 17,324 applicants from the U.S.; 10,241 applicants from China; and 3,581 from the U.K.
"Mars One is a mission representing all humanity, and its true spirit will be justified only if people from the entire world are represented," Lansdorp said. "I'm proud that this is exactly what we see happening."
Applicants pay a fee based on the wealth in their home country. Lansdorp said U.S. applicants pay $38.
Mars One extended the application period to August 31. Reviewers will then pick 50 to 100 candidates from 300 regions around the world. They will have the pool down to just 28 to 40 candidates by 2015, officials said.