Feeling unsatisfied with life on Earth? Why not apply to leave the third planet behind forever and live permanently on Mars? It sounds crazy, but to date, more than 78,000 people have applied to live the rest of their lives on Mars through the Dutch company Mars One.
Two weeks ago, Mars One officially opened applications from anyone and everyone interested in abandoning Earth to live on the red planet. The space advocacy organization plans to establish a permanent human presence on Mars by the year 2023. To accomplish this, Mars One is currently seeking applications from trainees interested in making the move. Because of the nature of the mission, the would-be astronauts can never return to Earth.
It's a scary prospect for some, but others seem absolutely delighted with the chance to leave Earth for good. According to a press release from the company, the results have been outstanding. Seventy-eight thousand people from over 120 countries have already applied.
"With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history. These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants,” Bas Lansdorp, Mars One co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“Mars One is a mission representing all humanity and its true spirit will be justified only if people from the entire world are represented. I’m proud that this is exactly what we see happening.”
While Mars One is accepting applications from all over the world, most of Mars One’s applicants are American. More precisely, 17,324 applicants are from America, while 10,241 Chinese nationals and 3,581 United Kingdom residents have also applied. Other countries represented include Russia, Mexico, India and Canada.
Surprisingly, while nationalized space programs like NASA typically look for the smartest and fittest candidates to become astronauts, Mars One is seeking something a little different in its application process. Instead of having to be, say, experimental airplane pilots with theoretical physics degrees, Mars One applicants are expected to be just normal, well- adjusted people.
“Applicants need to be at least 18 years of age, have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and ability to trust,” the application requirements read. “They must be resilient, adaptable, curious, creative and resourceful. Mars One is not seeking specific skill sets such as medical doctors, pilots or geologists. Rather, candidates will receive a minimum of eight years extensive training while employed by Mars One.”
“Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria for selection. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others–and for a lifetime of challenges ahead,” Norbert Kraft, former senior research associate at NASA and chief medical director for Mars One, said in a statement.
If you’re interesting in applying to Mars One’s program yourself, feel free to send in your application here.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.