Space travel is not exactly a sure thing, but a Dutch company is sure enough about it to start accepting paid applications for a trip to Mars.
A one-way trip to Mars.
The Dutch non-profit Mars One wants to assemble a team of four astronaut wannabes who are willing to say goodbye forever to planet Earth. Its target date for Mars is 2023.
After an 8-year training course and a 7 to 8 month space trip, the lucky foursome would move into interconnected inflatable pods on the surface of Mars. They'd have to wear spacesuits, of course, anytime they'd want to go outside, since the atmosphere is unbreathable and the temperatures could either freeze you or burn you up. But they'd be the first humans to ever live on Mars.
A lot of people, apparently, want to try this. In the first two days alone, 33,000 people paid a $38 application fee. That money is key. This project's $6 billion price tag is going to be financed by selling the TV rights to the selection process, the training, the space travel and their subsequent life on Mars. The public, by the way, gets to vote on the final four.
The video submissions, which are posted on the MarsOne website, keep rolling in.
One of the most popular applicants so far is a 23-year-old blonde from Finland.
Less popular is Benjamin, a 40-year-old Canadian. He describes his sense of humor as dry or William Shatner-ish, but William Shatner may not be the draw he once was.
Anastasia has a science background - she's a microbiologist. "Space travel became my childhood dream due to reading books," she says.
On the other hand, Matlock doesn't have a science degree. "As far as a sense of humor goes, I'm just another guy," he says. "Men are from Mars, and I'm just trying to get home. C'mon!"
Although the majority of applicants are in their 20's and 30's, there are a few closer to retirement age, like 61-year-old Randy. He's a CPA from Salt Lake City, who has had a fascination with Mars for all of his life.
The tricky thing about Randy, is that in his written bio he claims to be married to "the best wife on the planet." Maybe that's why he's headed to a different planet.