David Frum

05.01.13

Want to Go to Mars?

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The Dutch organization Mars One has received over 20,000 applications from intrepid citizens seeking to colonize the Red Planet in 2023.

Of these 20,000, 24 will be chosen by the public through a television show (think American Idol meets Survivor). Mars One has already begun releasing video submissions on their website.

These lucky chosen colonists -- who must be at least 18 years old, be 157 cm (roughly 5-foot-2) tall, and have 20/20 vision -- will then endure six to eight years of training and will be grouped into teams of four, who will train together in simulated living conditions of the planet. And yes, an audience decides who will be the first four to settle on Mars.

Only four people at a time will travel to Mars. Then the plan is to launch four more settlers every two years.

The outfit behind this ambitious adventure is Mars One, which describes itself as a "not for profit" organization that plans on funding this pricey journey -- estimated to cost $6 billion -- to Mars with the proceeds from an interactive, global TV show the likes of which the world has never seen, from astronaut selection to training to, finally, liftoff.

Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp explained to Yahoo! News last year, "This would be 'real' reality TV -- adventure is automatically included; we don't have to add fake challenges." He continued, "By sending a new crew every two years, Mars will have a real, growing settlement of humans -- who would not like to follow that major event in human history?"