IRELAND’s emigration problems may not be eased any time soon following the news that 851 people have registered for a one-way ticket to start a new life on Mars.
More than 200,000 people from over 140 countries have applied for the trip – which will take seven-months to reach Mars – with the aim of establishing the first human colony on the Red Planet.
Mars One, organisers of the ambitious mission, say the total figure of global applications is 202,586 meaning Ireland accounts for 0.4 per cent of all submissions made.
This compares with British applicants, who make up 4 per cent (8,499) of the total.
The £4 billion project is due to lift off in 2022 with four astronauts on board the initial flight.
Applicants, who submitted public videos in which they made their case for joining the crew, had to agree to stay on the red planet for the rest of their lives and will be filmed for a reality TV show.
Of the top-ten countries who applied, America leads the pack with 24 per cent of the overall total.
Other countries in the top eight include India (10 per cent), China (6 per cent), Brazil (5 per cent) while Britain, Canada, Russia and Mexico are tied fifth (4 per cent).
It should be noted that of these initial figures, some did not finish their application; or decided against making their application video public and therefore will not be selected.
Hopefuls will now be shortlisted into a group of 40 before embarking on an intensive training programme.
The privately-funded space project is led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.
“We’re not looking for individuals, we are looking for perfect teams. We want individuals who fit into certain teams of people going to Mars,” Lansdorp said.
“They must be healthy, smart enough to learn new skills and with a character and mind-set that can function in a small group.”
Organisers claim that having a human settlement on Mars will help our understanding of life and our place in the universe.