The final day has come for Indians and people around the world to apply for a one-way trip to Mars and never return to Earth for the rest of their lives.
The Mars One Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023. Till now, more than 1,65,000 people across the world and over 8,000 Indians have applied to become the lucky few to live on the planet for the rest of their lives.
Vinod Kotiya of Bhopal is one of the 'wannabe astrounauts' to have applied for Mars One mission.
The 31-year-old says, "It is my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. I even cleared the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test for Indian Air Force but could not make it. Mars One is a surprise opportunity for me to have another go at my dream."
However, Kotiya had not informed his wife about his plan to visit Mars on a one way trip and never return. He says, "While uploading my profile on the site, I did not tell anyone, not even my wife. Initially, she thought it was a joke but later when things got serious, she threatened to lay in front of the space craft at the time of launching."
Kotiya feels that it is destiny to go to Mars and would like the opportunity to conduct experiments and study the red planet for the sake of science and humanity but won't abandon his family and would like to return someday.
He says, "I want to tell them that I am going to live on other planet in a different way as I live here. I hope that technology will evolve someday to get me back to earth. I will do everything to take care of my family."
Amulya Nidhi Rastogi, a 20-year-old mechanical engineer from Gurgaon, is one of the 8,000 applicants, who wishes to travel to Mars on a one-way trip to Mars with a hope of fulfilling the purpose of his life. He says, "Every human comes into this world with a purpose. I feel living on Mars is mine."
The Delhi-born lad is confident that if selected, he won't have to prepare himself as he feels that he has the patience and the mental stability required for it.
However, Amulya won't stop chasing his dream if not selected in the programme. "I’m doing my Bachelor’s while preparing for Mars One. In 2015, if everything goes as planned, I’ll have a Bachelor’s degree and I’ll be a Mars One Astronaut. But in case, I fail to make it to Mars One, I’ll continue with my Masters and PhD. After completing those degrees, I will try to become an astronaut for NASA, ESA, ISRO or some other space agency and then travel to Mars. Mars is the goal."
In April 2013, the Astronaut Selection Programme was launched in New York and Shanghai. Round 1 is an online application open to all nationalities. The selection programme proceeds with three additional rounds over the course of two years.
At the end of it around six teams of four individuals are selected for training. A new batch of the Astronaut Selection Programme begins every year to replenish the training pool regularly.
An analogue of the Mars habitat is to be constructed on Earth for technology testing and training purposes.
With just hours left before the registration ends, people around the world are waiting for their names to be short listed for the first-of-its-kind expedition.
Anyone above 18 years can enter the programme at http://www.mars-one.com/en/