Three Indians, two women and one man, have made it to the list of 100 applicants who will move on to the next round of an ambitious private mission that aims to send four people on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024.
From the initial 202,586 applicants, only 100 hopefuls have been selected to proceed to the next round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Process, The Netherlands-based non-profit organisation Mars One has announced.
The project aims to set up a human colony on Mars and eventually around 40 people will be sent to the red planet on a permanent basis. The finalists will train for seven years and Mars One will begin sending out four at a time from 2024.
The Mars 100 Round Three candidates include 50 men and 50 women with 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania.
The Indian candidates include 29-year-old Taranjeet Singh Bhatia, who is studying Doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.
The other two are Ritika Singh, 29, who lives in Dubai, and Shradha Prasad, 19, from Kerala.
The second round of the application process last year had shortlisted 44 Indians, of whom 27 were men and 17 were women.
The third round has selected 100 candidates from a pool of 660 after they participated in personal online interviews with Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer.
During the interviews the candidates had a chance to show their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of the life changing expedition.
“We were impressed with how many strong candidates participated in the interview round, which made it a very difficult selection,” said Kraft. The next selection rounds will focus on composing teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars.
The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.