There are plans for the first humans to colonise Mars in 2023 - and you could be one of them. The project Mars One will, at first, send four humans to start off the colony, then more humans will be sent to join the group every two years.
Mars One will be privately funded. With an estimated cost of six billion dollars, it is expected to raise revenue once the program gets underway by being turned into a reality television show. Who would have thought that reality TV - the same genre which contains gems such as my guilty pleasure Geordie Shore - could advance humanity in such a novel way?
The trip to Mars is one way, but this is not as extreme as it sounds. It is not too different to the situation faced by the first British settlers of Australia as they moved to a country that was then incomprehensibly far away with no guarantee that the colonies would be able to self-sustain.
Space travel afficionados have few opportunities to realise their dream. Becoming an astronaut for NASA has strict requirements; you need to be in good physical shape and have a science or engineering degree.
Alternatively, you can buy your way into being an astronaut of sorts by purchasing a ticket for a sub-orbital flight from Virgin Galactic. The brief experience will set you back at least $USD250,000.
Luckily for those of us who are too unfit or uneducated to be an astronaut, and who don't have the cash to become a space tourist, there are few criteria to be a candidate for the Mars One program. Plus, the space flight itself would only be the start of the journey.
The selection committee will be looking for five key characteristics: resilience, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust and creativity/resourcefulness. Applicants must be over eighteen years old and speak one of the eleven most used languages on the Internet, although the official language of the Mars colony will be English. Astronauts must be reasonably healthy and a non smoker. Popping out for a cigarette break on Mars would present too many logistical difficulties!
Applications to the Mars One project opened in April, and will close on August 31. There is a small application fee of $USD33.