200,000 apply for one-way mission to colonise Mars - but only four can become the first human settlers of the Red Planet

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Applications from 140 different countries for seven-month journey with astronauts set to lift off in 2022

Over 200,000 people from more than 140 countries have applied for a one-way ticket to Mars despite the seven-month journey in the hope of establishing the first human colony.

The organisers of the Mars One mission announced that 202,586 people have submitted videos explaining why they should be chosen for the £4 billion project.

The plan to recoup the huge outlay is to create a media event that is more like an Olympics spectacular than a TV reality show.

“This mission to Mars can be the biggest media event in the world,” said Paul Römer, the co-creator of Big Brother and ambassador of the project, on the website. “Reality meets talent show with no ending and the whole world watching. Now there's a good pitch.”

The organisers say human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. The Mars One website states the mission is only one-way as Earth return vehicles that can take off from the Red Planet are currently unavailable and would add to the already huge cost.

The privately-financed spaceflight project is led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.

“We’re not looking for individuals, we are looking for perfect teams. We want individuals who fit into certain teams of people going to Mars. They must be healthy, smart enough to learn new skills and with a character and mind-set that can function in a small group,” Mr Lansdorp said.

The applicants who wanted the one-way ticket to Mars, the majority came from the United States. 47,654 applications came from the US with 8,497 from Britain.

A selection committee will begin to sort the applicants and those chosen will have to pass three more rounds before the final decision.

The fourth, and final, round will be an international competition that prepares groups of candidates for life on Mars. At the end of the selection process, 24 individuals will be selected to become Mars One astronauts, and the four astronauts selected to become the first human settlers on Mars will land on the planet by 2023.

The plan is to build teams of four people, each from a different continent, who will live and train together for seven years before the first manned launch in 2022, arriving the following year.

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