The pool of 200,000 applicants who applied for a chance to take a historic trip to Mars in 2025 has been winnowed down to some 1,000 people – and at least one of the 122 hopefuls in Qatar has made the shortlist.
Next follows a rigorous screening process, with ultimately, only four people being chosen to embark on the Mars One space expedition. That trip aims to set up a permanent human settlement on the planet over the next decade.
Mubashshir Ahmed, a 27-year-old Indian expat who found out he made it to the second round last week, told Doha News:
“Life is so exciting now. I am the only son and I love my parents and friends so much. This qualification has a huge impact on my life. I am going to try to be more fit, to be more organized, to spend more time with my family and friends. Of course the feeling of one step closer to the permanent departure from this beautiful planet and beloved family and friends is so amazing that I could not describe it in words…
I generate motivation from so many different thoughts. If we survive we will be the first human beings to expand life outside our planet. Mars is just the first step. It is not only a historic achievement for human being – it is also going to restructure the kingdom of whole living organisms.”
It is unclear if any other residents made the cut. Mars One has not responded to repeated requests for comment from Doha News.
But according to Mashable, the countries that have the most participants are the US (297), Canada (75), India (62), and Russia (52). The rest hail from countries all over the world.
In a statement, Dr. Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer of Mars One, said:
“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.”
In the email that Ahmed received, the selection committee urged applicants to promote the Mars One mission by helping them fundraise for the expensive travel arrangements, which are estimated to cost more than $6 billion.
It also stated:
“If you haven’t already, it’s time to talk with your loved ones regarding your dream of starting a human civilization on Mars. Passing the first round of selection is a major step closer to going down in history as one of the chosen few who will experience and live something that has never been done before. You’ll need your family and friends’ support as we begin the next stage of the selection process.”
Previously, some Qatar residents criticized the mission as suicidal and impossible.
Whether Mars One actually happens, Mashable points out that at the very least, “People of all ages from all corners of the world are talking about space exploration again. And, let’s face it, that’s something we’ve needed for years.”