Mars One, the Netherlands-based organization seeking to establish the first colony on Mars, begins its second phase of candidate selection today. Potential contenders must go through another round of interviews, plus two more selection phases, before earning themselves a one-way ticket to the Red Planet.
According to the organizers of the expedition, today marks the halfway point for over 660 semifinalist and astronaut wannabes. On April 22, 2013, Mars One launched its official search for potentials, accepting applicants from all over the world. Although the official language of the colony will be English, candidates were invited to apply in one of the 11 most widely used languages: English, Spanish, Chinese Mandarin, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Indonesian and Japanese.
Ideal candidates, however, must possess several qualities in order to endure the strains of space travel. According to the Mars One website, an essential foundation is an applicant’s capacity for self-reflection. Only with this capacity, can the other five key characteristics of an astronaut be fully utilized; they include: resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust and creativity/resourcefulness.
Future “martians” must also meet general medical and physiological health standards. Applicants, for example, have to be free from any disease, psychiatric disorder or dependence on drugs and alcohol. A normal range of functionality in all joints, visual acuity of 100% in both eyes, and a standing height between 157 – 190 cm is also necessary.
Thus, the interview section is a vital part of the selection phase and will allow reviewers to judge the candidates’ overall physical health. To past this round, applicants must first obtain an all-clear statement from their doctors or physicians. They will then be invited to meet with a Mars One selection committee for the interview.
Included in this pool of hopefuls is Dr. Joseph Roche, an astrophysicist and lecturer at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Jackson Kisling, a Woodbury resident with a background in art and computer science.
Ultimately, up to six groups of four will become full-time employees of Mars One, and will then proceed to train for the actual mission, which is set to depart in 2024.