Messages of support flooded in on Twitter for a 36-year-old Saudi man who has signed up for a one-way trip to Mars scheduled for 2023.
Abdullah al-Zahrani applied to take part in the mission organized through the Dutch-based venture Mars One project, which received a total of 165,000 applicants over a 5-month registration period.
Al-Zahrani’s dream of landing on Mars seemed to be well-received by Saudis on Twitter, who created a special hashtag to support him.
The hashtag, created one day ago, receives over 30 tweets a minute on average.
Twitter user Abdullah Algaissi tweeted his support: “There is so much to discover about the universe. I not only hope that he goes to Mars but comes back with much more knowledge about it.”
Other aspiring space travelers came from over 140 countries including the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Russia, Britain, Mexico, Canada, Spain and the Philippines.
In his public registration video posted in English on the Mars One project website, al-Zahrani said that he hopes to be selected based on his experience as an ex-military pilot and the fact that he has been a medical student since 2008.
The Mars One project will only choose 40 candidates who will all undergo an eight-year training program, including medical and technical skills. Only four will be sent to Mars on the one-way trip, with more crew members to join them on the planet every two years.
The Mars One mission plan consists of an unmanned preparation mission in 2021, to set up a habitable settlement, followed by human landings beginning in 2023.