There are multiple the requirements to become a Mars One astronaut. Applicants’ characteristics must fit with those of an astronaut. Meaning the candidate needs to be:
- Trustworthy and Trusting
- Above the age of 18
- A2 English level
- Other physical requirements
The selection process consists of four rounds, resulting in international crews of up to six groups of four.
All candidates must submit an online application. The online application consists of general information about the applicant, a motivational letter, a resume and a one minute video in which the applicant answers some given questions and explains why he or she should be among the first humans to set foot on Mars. At this stage the potential candidates can submit their application in one of the 11 most used languages on Internet: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Korean. If an applicant decides to make his or her profile public, the application videos is available to be watched on community.mars-one.com. At the end of the first selection round, a team of Mars One experts will decide which applicants will pass to the next selection round.
Mars One then narrows the remaining applicants down to Round Two candidates. These individuals need to provide a medical statement from their own physician stating that they have met all the defined requirements. Mars One's criteria for medical fitness are similar to those of NASA.
The remaining individuals will subsequently receive materials to study for general knowledge questions. Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft interviews the members of this group individually about the knowledge questions and about their motivation to become part of this life-changing mission. The interviews are brief because it does not require a lot of time to determine which candidate is not suitable to fly to Mars. Therefore, the following selection rounds will be focused on determining who has what it takes to settle on Mars. The remaining candidates will have shown that they are healthy, smart, and dedicated.
The third round is an international selection round. Candidates who make it into this third selection round will participate in group challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars, and will take part in longer and more thorough interviews. The Mars One selection committee will determine who will pass to the final selection round.
The Mars One selection committee will create international groups of four candidates. The groups will be expected to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions, and work together under difficult circumstances. The groups will receive their first short term training in a copy of the Mars outpost.
From the first selection series, up to six groups of four will become full time employees of the Mars One astronaut corps, after which they will train for the mission. Whole teams and individuals might be selected out during training if they prove unsuitable for the mission.
Future Crew Expansion
A new group of four astronauts will land on Mars every two years, steadily increasing the settlement’s size. Eventually, a living unit will be built from local materials, large enough to grow trees. As more astronauts arrive, the creativity applied to settlement expansion will certainly give way to ideas and innovation that cannot be conceived now. But it can be expected that the human spirit will continue to persevere, and even thrive in this challenging environment.
Mars One’s teams of prospective Mars inhabitants will be prepared for the mission by participating full time in an extensive training program. This will be their full time, paid job. The training is split up into three programs: technical training, personal training, and group training.
The astronauts will be required to learn many new skills and gain proficiency in a wide variety of disciplines. At least two astronauts must be proficient in the use and repair of all equipment in order to be able to identify and solve technical problems.
At least two astronauts will receive extensive medical training in order to be able to treat minor and critical health problems, including first aid and use of the medical equipment that will accompany them to Mars. At least one person will train in studies on Mars geology while another will gain expertise in 'exobiology', the biology of alien life. Other specialties like physiotherapy, psychology, and electronics will be shared among the four astronauts in each of the initial groups.
Mars One will ensure that in each group, at least two crew members will be trained in each essential skill-set in case a member becomes ill. Their training and preparations will take place between their admittance to the program, and the start of their journey to Mars.
As the population on Mars increases, each new arrival will be able to bring with him or her an area of expertise. In time, this will reduce astronaut training time and requirements.
The ability of astronauts to cope with the difficult living environment on Mars will be an important selection criteria. For example, an astronauts’ mobility will be restricted for a long period of time, and they will no longer be able to speak to friends and family on Earth face-to-face (read here how they can communicate with people on Earth). They will be able to receive psychological assistance from Earth if they wish, via long-range communications. The astronauts will initially be chosen for their inherent ability to cope with these situations, and will receive training on how to deal with them most effectively.
Group training will take place in the form of simulation missions. A simulation mission is an extensive, fully immersive exercise that prepares the astronauts for the real mission to Mars. The simulated environment will invoke as many of the Mars conditions as possible. Immediately after selection, the groups will participate in these simulations for a few months per year. During simulations, astronauts will only be able to leave the base when wearing their Mars suits. They will have to take care of their water supply and keep the life support systems up and running. They must also cultivate their own food, and all communications with the outside world will be artificially delayed by twenty minutes.