Mars One, a nonprofit organization that links donors with private aerospace companies in hopes of building a Martian colony in 2023 (and then turning it into a reality TV show), sounds too weird to be true—but it has big names, big money, and a realistic-looking plan of action behind it. They haven’t yet picked out the 24 people who will take a one-way ticket to Mars and spend the rest of their lives there, but that part shouldn’t be a problem; over 200,000 candidates have applied, and they’ve whittled the list down to 1,058 finalists.
Mars One has a nice promo/solicitation-for-funds video here which explains the process, perhaps best summed up by the phrase “completely implausible-sounding idea that kind of makes sense when you look at it step by step”:
So while they get the other hardware (and funding) in line, how exactly do they plan to eliminate 98% of the finalists from the candidate pool? By sticking them in Mars-ish simulations right here on Earth, allowing prospective colonists to experience all the comforts of the rugged Martian frontier with none of the existential horror that one might reasonably expect to encounter after being stranded on Mars.