Some nine Arabs have decided to join more than 100,000 people across the world to sign up for a one-way trip to Mars.
Private Dutch-based “Mars One” project aims to "colonize" the red planet, starting in 2022, reported the Telegraph.
Out of the thousands of applicants, 40 will be chosen this year. The final number will be narrowed down to just four future passengers, the newspaper added.
Interestingly, the group of applicants includes just nine Arab citizens. Hailing from countries including Morocco and Palestine, the applicants share a desire for an otherworldly experience, as shown in videos on Al Arabiya’s Arabic website.
The financial and practical viability of the mission could be questioned but this has not prevented the large number of hopeful applicants.
The estimated cost of the mission is $6 billion. Mars One hopes to raise the eye-watering amount through sponsors and selling broadcasting rights to media companies, including a reality show of the colonization project.
The first group of astronauts, who will be trained for eight years before take-off, will be joined by a second crew a few years after 2022.
“A reliable surface habitat will be set up before the first crew lands; more settlers and cargo will follow every two years,” explains a statement on the Mars One Website.
An unusual opportunity, particularly as none of the crew will return to Earth.
However, the prospect has attracted a flood of attention. The cost of applying depends on the applicant’s origin; in the U.S., the once-in-a-lifetime ticket costs just $38.
“To see out mission evolve this way feels like my dream is becoming a reality,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mars One.