From 202,586 to about 1,000 and now winnowed down to 100. That's how many finalists are left competing for a one-way ticket to Mars in the highly publicized Mars One project. The finalists will now compete for one of 24 crew member spots, with the goal of sending those 24 to Mars to set up a settlement by as early as 2024, NBC News reports; the Dutch nonprofit hopes to make the competition into a reality-TV show. Fifty men and 50 women (hopefuls can check names on the finalists' list here) have been selected after undergoing personal online interviews with Norbert Kraft, the project's chief medical officer.
The remaining competitors will next be placed onto teams to see how well they handle group situations. "Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player," Kraft says, per a Mars One news release. Meanwhile, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp applauds the elite new group, saying, "The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars." But is the mission even really going to happen? As NBC notes, a 2014 MIT press release called some of the logistics "overly optimistic." (Read more Mars One stories.)