From April 22, 2013 to August 31, 2013, an application was made available to the public. It was the first of its kind. By the end of the sign-up period, 202,586 people from more than 140 countries had registered their interest for a position. Four of those applicants would be the first to do what humans have imagined for over a century and more – they hope to be the first humans to set foot on Mars.
The project is being developed by a Dutch non-profit organization led by entrepreneur, Bas Lansdorp. It is called, Mars One. Mars One wants to inspire and bring closer together the inhabitants of this planet – the project would be televised 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year as a reality based program.
Mars has been an enduring part of popular culture since the end of the 19th century. From serialized stories like H. G. Wells’, The War of the Worlds (1897) and the 1912 debut of the pulp magazine serial, John Carter On Mars, from the Orson Welles’ 1938 Mercury Theatre radio production of The War of the Worlds and series like the 1957 Mutual Broadcasting System’s Exploring Tomorrow, from 1938 film serial Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars and the 1959 science fiction film, The Angry Red Planet, from the 1962 UK television series, Space Patrol and the 1967 series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, every entertainment medium in every generation since has fantasized about the red planet.
The early expectations of human exploration and habitation of Mars often predicted an arrival during the 20th Century. The Mars One project hopes to land the first earthlings in 2023. It seems that so much technological development and resources were aimed at the development of destructive weapons and terrestrial superiority that there wasn’t much left for the idealized notions of space travel in the last century.
There’s still a predominantly ‘wait and see’ attitude abut the Mars One project, but one thing is certain – the mission has once again revived the popular imagination about Earthlings on the Red Planet.