It seems the prospect of living on another planet is quite appealing to many: four months after registrations opened, more than 100,000 Mars One applicants have already signed up for a one-way trip to the Red Planet.

The Mars One project’s goal is to colonize Earth’s neighbor, starting in 2022, when the first crew is scheduled to take off. The first mission is expected to cost $6 billion, which organizers are hoping to raise from sponsors and media broadcasting rights for documenting the project.

An artist’s rendition of what the Mars One settlement would look like.

An artist’s rendition of what the Mars One settlement would look like.

An important step in the colonization process is the selection of the first settlers. The program opened in April and since then, there have been over 100,000 Mars One applicants that signed up and paid the mandatory fee ($38 for U.S. residents) for a one-way trip to Mars.

There will be four rounds of candidate selection, the first one being scheduled to end on August 31. Eventually, organizers will chose a total of 24-40 applicants and all of them will be divided in groups. Every group will then be trained together for eight years and taught how to work together in an isolated habitat and other harsh environments.

The first group, consisting of two men and two women, will take off in September 2022 and land on Mars in April 2023. More groups would follow every two years, according to organizers.

In an attempt to secure more funding for the Mars One space travel project, organizers are contemplating a reality TV program format. The program would monitor the entire trip, from training to take-off, and would be funded by the media and by advertisers.

As for how the colonization process will go, every mission sent to Mars will be accompanied by over 5,500 pounds of useful supplies. The travel capsules will become part of the local habitat and will be equipped with solar panels and other equipment to allow colonists to manufacture their own water, oxygen and electricity.

There are of course many questions about how the project will raise that much money or how the colonists will be able to survive in a hostile environment that does not support life as we know it. And for the sake of all star-gazers out there who are dreaming of space travel, we really hope organizers will find some sustainable solutions.

What do you think of the project? Would you like to be one of the first Mars colonizers and leave everything behind forever? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

[Image via mars-one]