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Candidates for televised 1-way trip to Mars chosen

THE HAGUE -- More than 1,000 candidates — from 200,000 hopefuls — have been chosen to train for a private Mars colonization mission to be partly funded by a reality-TV show following their training and subsequent steps, organizers said Thursday.

They are to be whittled down to just 24, who will be sent over six launches starting in 2024, according to Mars One, the Dutch-based non-profit group behind the audacious endeavor.

The only catch is that the space-bound settlers will be on a one-way ticket to the Red Planet which lies a minimum 55 million kilometers — six months' travel — from Earth.

Costs are too high to contemplate a return trip.

Mars One said the selected 1,058 would-be emigrants to Mars, from 140 countries, were informed on Dec. 30 they were the lucky few deemed to meet the criteria — including an “indomitable spirit,” “good judgment,” “a good sense of play,” disease- and drug-free, English-speaking — to be interplanetary pioneers.

“The challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously. We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude,” said organization co-founder Bas Landsdorp.

The group's chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, said the candidates will now be called in for “rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing (their) physical and emotional capabilities” over the next two years.

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