Mars One Project Announces Second Round Astronaut Selection Results

The ambitious Mars One project, which aims to put a permanent colony on Mars, has whittled its applicant pool down to 1,058 people.

Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation that hopes to establish permanent human life on Mars, announced the selection of candidates from the applicant pool of over 200,000, reducing the number of applicants to 1,058.

On Dec. 10, Mars One launched its first crowd-funding campaign, focused on bringing funds and attention to the first mission, an unmanned trip to Mars scheduled for 2018. The organization argues human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies.

On the same day as the crowd-funding campaign launch, Mars One announced in Washington, D.C., agreements with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and one of the world’s major small satellite companies, Surrey Satellite Technology, to develop mission plans for the 2018 mission.

All applicants were notified in an email of their application status. For the applicants who were not selected in this round, Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp said there is still a chance they could re-apply at a later date, which has not yet been determined.

The next several selection phases in 2014 and 2015 will include rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of the remaining candidates.

"U.S. astronaut Clayton Anderson was rejected by NASA for its astronaut training program 15 times, yet in 2007 he boarded the Space Shuttle Atlantis for a trip to the International Space Station," Lansdorp said in a statement. "He proved anything can happen and the door is never completely closed."

Details of the 2014 selection phases have not been agreed upon due to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection processes. Further information is expected to be released early in the coming year, a company statement said.

"We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind," Norbert Kraft, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mars One and recipient of the 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award, said in a statement. "This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants and the communities they’re a part of."

The coming year could be even busier for the team at Mars One than 2013, with multiple applicant selection phases, worldwide education events and more, including what could become a media circus over the next selection process.

"We fully anticipate our remaining candidates to become celebrities in their towns, cities and in many cases, countries," Kraft continued. "It’s about to get very interesting."