Over 200,000 people, including more than 20,000 Indians, have applied for an ambitious private mission that will send four men and women on a one-way trip to Mars in 2023 to establish a permanent space colony.
In the five month application period, Mars One received interest from 202,586 people from around the world, with ten per cent of the applicants from India alone.
The Mars One foundation has also announced that it has been able to secure lead suppliers for an unmanned mission launching in 2018, involving a robotic lander and a communications satellite.
The first round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Programme has now closed for applications, the Dutch company said.
Mars One applicants come from over 140 countries; the largest numbers are from the US (24 per cent), India (10 per cent), China (6 per cent), Brazil (5 per cent), UK, Canada, Russia and Mexico (4 per cent), Philippines, Spain, Colombia and Argentina (2 per cent), and Australia, France, Turkey, Chile, Ukraine, Peru, Germany, Italy and Poland (1 per cent).
From this applicant pool, the Mars One Selection Committee will select prospective Martian settlers in three additional rounds spread across two years.
By 2015, six to ten teams of four individuals will be selected for seven years of full-time training.
In 2023, one of these teams will become the first humans ever to land on Mars and live there for the rest of their lives, Mars One said.
The current applicants will be screened in a process that is expected to take several months.
Candidates selected to pass to the next round will be notified by the end of this year. The second round of selection will start in 2014, where the candidates will be interviewed in person by a selection Committee.