These people may be the first to colonize Mars

A Netherlands-based nonprofit foundation has narrowed its focus to 100 people who may be the first to live — and die — on Mars.

Out of an early pool of more than 202,000 applications, Mars One has whittled down the list of potential interplanetary colonists to 50 men and 50 women from all corners of the globe.

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Now, the candidates will begin to train and see who might have what it takes to be the first humans to set out on one-way a mission to Mars.

The effort is all part of a bold — if potentially flawed — plan to send human beings to live on Mars.

Mars One claims that it can use existing technologies to rocket human beings to the red plant and have them establish the beginnings of a settlement more than 30 million miles away from Earth.

According to the nonprofit organization’s timeline, the first rover and cargo launches to the planet will happen in 2020 and 2022, followed by the launching of the first pair of explorers in 2024. Once they land, those two will begin to construct a new home from supplies shipped in the previous cargo loads. The next pair of astronauts will plan to launch in 2026 to join them.

The colonists will never return home to Earth.

In order to select those explorers, the organization now has to cull through the 100 candidates from all over the world. They will be put through tests to try and simulate their experience in traveling to Mars and ensure that they can last as a team.

“Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges,” said Norbert Kraft, the organization’s chief medical officer, in a statement.

A documentary series is being produced about the selection process.

The plan is not without its potential weaknesses.

Analysis from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year found a number of flaws with Mars One’s plan, which it called, in part, “overly optimistic.” 

For instance, the Mars One plan calls for crops to be grown within the settlers’ habitat, in order to produce food. But that would probably create a dangerous amount of oxygen that could cause humans to suffocate, and there are no current technologies to extract that excess gas in space, MIT researchers said.