The Mars One company is opening its application process for the selection of four astronauts who will fly to Mars in 2023, if all goes well and some $6 billion is found to fund the mission. There's one big drawback, for anyone who's interested: You'll never come back to Earth.
Mars One is planning a rather incredible space mission: It wants to send a group of four astronauts to the Red Planet, to form a colony where they'll work, live, and die. The astronauts will create farms, build habitats covered in meters of Martian soil to protect from radiation, and eventually build bigger and better habitats.
If you're interested you can apply today: The first stage is a simple online application process, which includes the chance to make a short video of around a minute in length in which you press your reasons for being selected. If this is familiar, it's because you may recognize the system as being similar to the way some reality TV shows find their new stars. And this is actually part of the whole plan--as the astronaut selection process rambles on nations will be able to vote for their favorite candidate, and the training process will be televised. Ultimately the mission itself will be on TV, too, and it's no surprise that one supporter of the project is Paul Römer, who co-created Big Brother.
Lest you think this is all just rather silly, during the press conference Mars One mentioned that they've been in serious discussions with SpaceX to supply the Mars lander and capsule. The capsule will be a larger version of the Dragon capsule that SpaceX has successfully sent to the ISS. SpaceX has been testing a rocket descent system that seems like it could be an ideal lander vehicle for Mars--if evolved in design over the next 10 years.