Key Words: Mars, astronaut selection, permanent settlement
>> Trip to Mars lures applicants
Mars - that's where more than 450 Chinese people want to live.
They've applied for one-way tickets to the red planet offered by Mars One, an organization based in the Netherlands hoping to establish a human colony there in 2023.
On its website (www.mars-one.com), it says it hasn't yet begun its astronaut selection program, but had so far received in excess of 37,000 applications, including more than 450 from China.
The non-profit organization announced its private spaceflight project in June last year saying that it would send a communications satellite and pathfinder to Mars by 2016 and land four astronauts in 2023 to establish a permanent settlement.
After that, a new set of four astronauts would arrive every two years.
Mars One is planning a reality TV show where the audience can select the astronauts and watch as they prepare for the epic journey.
It said it had developed "a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies."
It said the primary personal attributes of a successful astronaut would be emotional and psychological stability, supported by personal drive and motivation.
"Once on Mars, there is no means to return to Earth. Mars is home," its website says. "A grounded, deep sense of purpose will help each astronaut maintain his or her psychological stability and focus as they work together toward a shared and better future."
It lists five key requirements for applicants - resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, and creativity/resourcefulness.
Successful candidates will receive a minimum of eight years of training before they leave Earth behind.
Ma Qiang, a 39-year-old Sichuan Province native, told Beijing Youth Daily he hoped to be selected to make his life "worth living."
Ma said he survived the 2008 earthquake in the southwest province but had been deeply affected by what he had seen.
After that, Ma wanted to do something to make his life worth living, he told the newspaper, and a journey to Mars could be the answer.
Wang Wenming, 30, from Kunming in southwest Yunnan Province, said his dream was to explore a new world.
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