Mars One will test 472 women and 586 men over the next two years in the hopes of producing 40 final candidates.
Whatever you may think of the prospects for space travel as a reality show, the Mars One project is certainly in it for the long haul. After opening its doors to public applications last April, the not-for-profit organization compiled over 200,000 resumes from individuals seeking a one-way trip to another world. When it wasn't securing suppliers for the upcoming mission, Mars One spent the subsequent year trimming that number to a far more reasonable sounding 1058 applicants. The selection process isn't finished yet however: Over the next two years, Mars One hopes to lower that figure further by putting the remaining candidates through physical and emotional tests, with an end goal of sending a final team to Mars by 2025.
"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 our remaining candidates," said Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft. "We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind. This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants, and the communities they're a part of."
The exact nature of the tests haven't yet been agreed upon, partly due "to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection process". That said, we do have some basic statistics about the remaining candidates. 472 women and 586 men from 107 countries were considered physically and mentally capable of making the journey to Mars. The majority of these applicants come from the United States and Canada, over half of whom are under the age of 35. That's not to say older candidates are being overlooked; 26 applicants are over the age of 56, the oldest of whom is 81 years old.
Assuming all goes well with its testing, Mars One hopes to separate 40 final candidates into teams that will train for an additional seven years. At that point, a global audience will vote for the team it wants on Mars for 2025.