Mars Can Support Astronauts?
A Netherlands-based nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers for a possible mission to Mars. Mars One has released its requirements for astronauts, and those who want "to boldly go where no one has gone before” can sign up. NASA

Mars One is seeking volunteers to become Mars colonists, and the Netherlands-based nonprofit organization is planning for a landing on Mars in 2023.

Its goal is to create a permanent settlement on the red planet that could pave the way for future space colonies. It’s a beta test for planetary colonization, and Mars One seeks to establish an environment that is a “sustainable outpost designed to receive astronauts every two years.”

According to Mars One, the company has “developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, in motion through the integration of existing suppliers and experts in space exploration.”

If your dream is to be one of the first people to step foot on an alien world, Mars One may just enable it as it has set its requirements for astronauts.

The chief medical director of Mars One, Norbert Kraft, a former senior research associate for NASA, discussed the trials and tribulations that lie ahead for any of the brave astronauts chosen for the Mars mission.

In a statement, Kraft said: “In my former work with NASA, we established strict criteria for the selection and training of astronauts on long-duration space flights. Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others, in the long journey from Earth to Mars and for a lifetime of challenges ahead. Psychological stability, the ability to be at your best when things are at their worst, is what Mars One is looking for. If you are the kind of person [who] everyone chooses to have on their island, then we want you to apply too.”

So what does it take to be a Mars colonist? For starters, each Mars One astronaut must be 18 or older with a “[d]eep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection, and ability to trust.” All astronauts must have a strong grasp of the English language as that will be the official language of the Mars One mission. The organization is not looking for any particular individual, be it a doctor or an athlete, to apply. Instead, it is more focused on a person’s character than on his or her abilities.

Mars One is seeking colonists who are creative, curious, resilient, resourceful, trusting, and have the ability to adapt. You can look over the application process here to determine whether you could be a Mars One colonist. Once you apply, there are four rounds of qualification. The first round is the application, which includes a resume, a letter expressing your reason for wanting to join Mars One, and a video response to several questions.

If chosen for the second phase, each volunteer must provide a clean bill of health from his or her doctor and will be subject to interview by the Mars One selection committee.

The third and fourth phases are by far the most important for any would-be astronaut. A national contest will be held, with 20 to 40 volunteers competing in challenges that will determine who advances to the final round.

In the last phase, the volunteers will be divided into national groups and will undergo training and other challenges that simulate what it is expected to be like on Mars. The ability to work together under the harshest of conditions will be crucial.

At the end of the process, six groups, each with four members, will become members of Mars One, and they will train to go to Mars.

Applications are not available yet, but it would not hurt to begin training to become a Mars colonist. An introduction to the Mars One mission can be viewed below.