Nearly a quarter million people around the world have applied for a chance to take a historic trip to Mars in 2023, including some 122 Qatar residents.
But the odds are not in their favor, as only four people will be chosen to embark on the Mars One space expedition, which aims to set up a permanent human settlement on the planet over the next decade.
Across the Middle East, some 1,000 people have put in for the volunteer opportunity, including 477 from Saudi Arabia, 421 from Bahrain and 142 from Kuwait. A mere 52 people living in the UAE applied, and only 45 residents of Oman submitted applications, the National reports.
The pool of 200,000 total applicants (the majority of whom from the US, India and China) will be whittled down over the course of the next seven years, based on several factors, including their psychological profile.
According to the Mars One website:
By 2015, six-ten teams of four individuals will be selected for seven years of full-time training. In 2023, one of these teams will become the first humans ever to land on Mars and live there for the rest of their lives.
Current applicants will be screened by the Mars One Selection Committee, who will notify those make the short-list by year-end. The second round of selection will start in 2014, where the candidates will face in-person interviews.
Among the hopefuls in Qatar is a 27-year-old Indian expat named Mubashir who works as a cost engineer. In his application, he writes:
“I love social and intellectual adventures. Being in 21st century I don’t see colonies in Mars as fiction.”
Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who do believe the Mars mission is fiction. Speaking to the National, Hasan Al Hariri, the director of Dubai Astronomy Group, said the idea of settling on the red planet made no sense:
“It’s just like suicide. In fact, it is suicide. Going there is a death sentence.”
Nothing on Mars is similar to Earth. We have so many things that we take for granted here, when you go to Mars those things won’t be guaranteed or even available. It’s just an ego thing, just people wanting to show off. It’s absolutely not realistic.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mars One on Facebook