The colonists will be sent in groups of four, and the first group will have two men and two women, hailing from four different continents. The company is accepting applications from anyone over the age of 18, through August 31. The response has been overwhelming — as of May, some 78, 000 Mars colonist applications had been received.
A colony on Mars
Robert Zubrin, president and founder of the Mars Society and an advocate for manned exploration of the red planet, kicked off the meeting. Somewhat fittingly, he joined the meeting remotely via video chat.
A poster for the Mars One project's Million Martian Meeting to discuss plans for a Mars colony mission in 2023. The meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 3.
Credit: Mars One
"I think this is the most important thing going on in the world today, " Zubrin said. He likened the colonization of Mars to humanity's expansion from a few tribes in a Kenyan rift valley to a global species. "Right now we have the prospect of taking this to the next step, of breaking out of planet Earth and going from a global species to a multi-planet, space-based species, " he said.
Zubrin went on to explain why Mars was more suitable for a colony than the moon, and elaborated on the heavy lifter technology needed to supply such a mission, which he thinks is technically feasible. He also lamented NASA's "avoidance" of pursuing a manned Mars mission.
Leaving Earth behind
Four Mars One applicants (three men and a woman) were on-hand to answer questions about their decision to apply: a married doctor, a married physics student, a hotel manager, and a graduate student in applied intelligence.
So why leave everything behind to go to Mars? "It's literally something that I've wanted forever, " said Aaron Hamm, the hotel manager.
Mars One volunteers for a one-way trip to colonize Mars in 2023 speak during a panel at the Million Martian Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 3, 2013.
"You're kind of born knowing that you want to travel, " added Joseph Sweeney, the graduate student who founded the Aspiring Martian Group on Facebook. Even if the risk of failing were 99 percent, Sweeney said he would go.
"I have wanted to go to space for as long as I can remember, " Sara Director, one of the few female applicants...
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