The non-profit company name is Mars One, and its goal is to send a few lucky men and women to the Red Planet in ten years. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, it turns out, what they plan to fill those ten years with a whole lot of pageantry.
Mars One expects roughly one million job applicants for the astronaut spots. A number they hope to "keep low" by requiring a maximum $25 application fee along with any submission. You know, to weed out the weirdos, and raise 25 million dollars. After the initial round of applications, Mars One will begin phase two of their epic hiring process. A two-year: televised search for their finalists, which will generate a whole lot more revenue.
Those finalists will be comprised of 24 people, broken into four-member teams. Those teams will have to really, really like one another, because Mars One has zero — repeat, zero — plans on any of them ever coming back.
Then the stress tests begin. All told, three teams of four are expected to make it past the obstacles and be shipped off — forever — to our little red neighbor in the sky.
All this funding and hooplah, it turns out, is for good reason. Traveling to Mars, even one-way, is expensive. Mars One is estimating a whopping $6 billion price tag just to send the first four astronauts to Mars. Subsequent crews, landing in two-year intervals, will require a relatively discounted price of $4 billion per crew.
So if you're at least 18 — or will be by July — and you have 25 bucks burning a hole in your pocket, head on over to Mars One's website and join their already 45,000-strong mailing list. And get that video audition ready.