This actually sounders crazier than it is, mostly. A whopping 202,586 souls applied for Mars One’s manned missions that start in 2023. The thing is, the trips are one way so once you leave Earth, you’re never coming back and will eventually find your final resting place on the red planet. Probably sooner rather than later.
The first of four selection rounds ended August 31. Now, the Mars One selection committee will spend the next several months narrowing down the applicants. There are even plans to launch a reality TV show to choose the final candidates. The goal is for 24 to 40 people to begin a seven-year training program in 2015. Then, working with the private space flight company SpaceX, Mars One hopes to send the prospective Martian settlers to the red planet in teams of four, beginning in 2023.
According to NBC, only 2782 of the interested parties completed the full application process (paid their registration fee and submitted public videos), so they are the only ones truly in the running for the second round.
Somehow, as crazy as it sounds, it’s also incredibly cool that so many people are willing to take on such a risky and potentially rewarding endeavor. It’s very similar to how Europeans risked everything to establish settlements in the New World.