No, really. The Mars One Project, which is aiming to put a human on Mars by 2023, is holding tryouts in the time-honored tradition of such esteemed human achievements as The Real World, The Amazing Race, The Bachelor, and countless other reality shows. That is to say: with audition tapes.
The Netherlands-based Mars One will begin accepting application videos sometime between now and July, charging a fee to weed out folks who aren't serious about their candidacy. The group hopes to raise millions of dollars this way, with the proceeds paying for the ongoing selection process and technology studies.
"We expect a million applications with 1-minute videos, and hopefully some of those videos will go viral,” Mars One co-founder and chief executive officer Bas Lansdorp told SPACE.com on April 10. He was in London to speak to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) that day.
Mars One now has 45,000 people registered for its mailing list and has already received 10,000 emails from interested individuals, Lansdorp added. The organization will unveil more details about its astronaut selection process at a press conference in New York City on April 22.
Mars One is just one in a recent crop of private space organizations competing for the title of First To Mars, but they're the only project (that we know of) to sell themselves in the form of a reality TV show to make it happen. Nobel laureate Gerrard 't Hooft, who has officially backed the project, has said in previous statements that "Big Brother will pale in comparison." (Incidentally, Paul Römer – a co-founder and executive producer of Big Brother – has already backed the project.)