Life on Mars? Thousands vie for mission

Life on Mars? Thousands vie for mission
This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.

A mission to put humans on Mars that drew 200,000 applicants has selected more than a thousand candidates who will now be tested to come up with a final list of 24 would-be Mars-dwellers.

Mars One was set up in 2011 by two Dutch men with the goal of establishing permanent human life on Mars in 2025. They hope the project will be funded by investors and the rights from the documentary-cum-reality TV broadcasting of the tests, training and final selection.

The 1,058 candidates who got through to the first round come from all over the world. By far the largest number - 297 - are American, followed by 75 Canadians and 62 Indians.

They must now undergo rigorous tests, including simulations of life on Mars and coping with isolation, co-founder Bas Lansdorp said.

"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," Lansdorp said.

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