As the deadline for registration nears, over 8,000 Indians have so far signed up for the one-way trip to Mars and settle down on the red planet, as 'Mars One' project is planning to establish a colony there in the next 10 years.
'Mars One', a not-for-profit foundation intends to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023 and is registering those interested to make it up there.
India stands fourth among other countries of the world with 8,107 applicants, as on August 27.
The top 10 countries to enroll are the USA (37,852), China (13,124), Brazil (8,686), India (8,107), Russia (7,138), Britain (6,999), Mexico (6,771), Canada (6,593), Spain (3,621) and Philippines (3,516) as on August 22, Aashima Dogra of 'Mars One' told .
With August 31 this year being the last date for registering, 'Mars One' has already received interest from more than 1,65,000 people hoping to be the first humans on Mars.
"The Mars One Application Program is turning out to be the most desired job vacancy in the world. People from over 140 countries are looking towards the final frontier and envisioning their life on another planet," she said.
Mars One believes that human settlement on the red planet was possible with existing technologies and it plans to integrate components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide.
"The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations; it is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars," she said.
The mission plan consists of cargo missions and unmanned preparation of a habitable settlement, followed by human landings.
"In the coming years, a demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions will be sent to Mars. These missions will set up the outpost where the human crew will live and work," Dogra said.
The selection and training the human crew for permanent settlement has already commenced. "The search for Astronauts began in April 2013. More than 78,000 registered for the selection programme within two weeks of its launch."
Mars One is a Dutch non-for-profit foundation. It is the mother company of Interplanetary Media Group, which enables the foundation to secure funds from its investors.
After securing the first investments and commissioning the first conceptual design study in 2012, Mars One was ready to launch its Astronaut Selection Program. It was launched at press conferences in New York and Shanghai in April 2013.
Bas Lansdorp, CEO and co-founder of Mars One said, "The cultural diversity of Mars One applicants reflects the international nature of this project and ultimately makes it humanity's mission to Mars."
Anyone above 18 years can enter the program at apply.mars-one.com