Four Chinese are among the top 100 candidates for the Mars One project, among whom 24 will be selected in the end to receive special training for the supposedly one-way trips to Mars, China National Radio reported on Saturday.
The four Chinese candidates are Li Dapeng (male) and Lin Xiaoxia (female) from China, Sue Ann Pien (female) from the US and Maggie Lieu (female) from the UK.
Mars One, a Dutch non-profit project co-founded in 2013 by Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur, aims to establish a permanent manned station on Mars. Crews of four will depart Earth for the planet every two years, starting in 2024, and they will also be a part of a reality TV show.
"How many opportunities does one have to spend billions of dollars? I want to make good use of this opportunity to explore other planets and expand the presence of mankind in the universe," said Li Dapeng, a gardener at a local forestry bureau in Handan, North China's Hebei province, after graduating from China Agricultural University with a bachelor's degree.
It's reported that the expenses for food delivery for the first batch of four explorers will amount to $4.5 billion.
Despite not having his family's support, Li, a father in his 30s, said he would continue to be part of the project, though he might drop out halfway if his family voices strong disapproval.
Astrophysicist Maggie Lieu is writing a PhD dissertation on cosmic giants at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
The bilingual 24-year-old, who is fluent in Chinese and English, said her love of science and space make worthwhile the very real risks of a cruel Martian atmosphere and that she may even have a baby on Mars.