Mars One, as the project is called, aims to bring a total of 40 astronauts to Mars between 2023 and 2033. Organizers say the astronauts will be expected to remain there permanently - "living and working on Mars the rest of their lives."
As the first humans ever to set foot on Mars, they will conduct experiments and explore it, providing "invaluable scientific and social knowledge" with those back on Earth.
Their lives will be streamed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"The mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever!" according to entrepreneur Bas Landsdorp and physicist Arno Wieders, who co-founded the project.
"After all, who would be able to look away from an adventure such as this one?" Lansdorp asks on the project's website. "Who wouldn't be compelled to watch, talk about, get involved in the biggest undertaking mankind has ever made?"
Mars, as seen in this photo taken by NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity, is "arid, rocky, cold and apparently lifeless." (Arizona State University/NASA/Associated Press)Organizers will hold televised auditions in 2013 to select the four astronauts who will be part of the initial 2023 mission. The four will prepare and train in a simulation settlement in a desert somewhere on Earth.
Between 2016 and 2022, unmanned rovers will bring food, living units, and water, oxygen and atmosphere production units to the planet in advance of the astronauts' anticipated arrival in April 2023.
The demands of a life on Mars should not be underrated.
The seventh largest planet in the solar system is "arid, rocky... and apparently lifeless" according to NASA, making it "the ultimate lonely planet destination."
It's also cold, with average temperatures hovering at about -63 C, NASA says.
Yet for some, "travelling to Mars has been a dream for years," Lansdorp and Wieders claim.
"To them, it is about exploring a new world, having the opportunity to conduct the most revolutionary research ever, build a new home for mankind and tackle the unknown."
The project already has the backing of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft and Paul Römer, a co-founder and executive producer of the hit reality show Big Brother.
Would you audition for such a project? Why or why not? What would you hope to discover on Mars that you haven't found here on Earth? Share your comments in the field below.
Would you move to Mars permanently?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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