Dutch non-profit organization Mars One is determined to colonize Mars, and will now select 24 people out of 100 remaining candidates for the mission.

The organization made it very clear that relocation would be permanent, and there was no shortage of applicants. Mars One put out a worldwide appeal, and recently cut the pool from 660 semi-finalists to 100 finalists. The next round of assessments will see the candidates demonstrate their team-working skills, hoping to win one of 24 places on the training scheme, writes Irene Klotz for Discovery.com.

Mars One: 100 Candidates For One-Way Trip

Mars One selection process

The age of the applicants varies from 19 to 60 years old, and they are competing for a place on the first manned Mars One mission, which is planned for 2024.

“Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges,” said Mars One medical officer Norbert Kraft.

The first flight will have an estimated cost of around $6 billion, and further flights are planned every two years, at an estimated cost of $4 billion each. The organization plans to build a self-sustaining human colony on the Red Planet.

MIT reality check

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have issued a word of warning to those behind Mars One.

“For example, if all food is obtained from locally grown crops, as Mars One envisions, the vegetation would produce unsafe levels of oxygen, which would set off a series of events that would eventually cause human inhabitants to suffocate. To avoid this scenario, a system to remove excess oxygen would have to be implemented — a technology that has not yet been developed for use in space,” MIT said.

Other problems include plans to use ice from Martian soil as drinking water, as well as underestimating how many supply flights would be needed to support the colony.

Mars One CEO Bas Landsdorp said the organization was investigating the work of MIT. Reports previously claimed that work on two robotic Mars missions had been halted.

Contractors Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology have so far only carried out concept studies for a communications satellite and a lander, but no contracts have been signed.

The future of the Mars One missions seems rocky, and time is getting short given that the first launch was scheduled to take place in 2018.