The applicants for the first human trip to Mars have been whittled down to 100 including 33 from the U.S. from an initial pool of 202,586.
Dutch foundation Mars One, which launched the global search for astronauts for the one-way Mars mission in 2012, announced that it has selected the 100 to go to the next round of the astronaut selection process.
A total of 50 men and 50 women passed the second round. Of the 100 finalists, 39 are from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa and seven from Oceania.
"The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars," said Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One. "These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern-day explorers will be."
One of them is Cassandara Morphy, a data analyst, from Jersey City, who said, "I think I first wanted to go to Mars when I read 'Red Mars' when I was like 14 or so," according to NBC 4 New York.
She said she is not scared that living on Mars would be permanent and the crew will not go back to Earth. "That's kind of the whole point, getting there and colonizing the planet," she said. "My head's always been in the clouds, so the next step is to go into the space."
The 100 were selected from 660 candidates who were interviewed online by Norber Kraft, chief medical officer, on the risks involved in the Mars trip and their motivation.
Based on Mars One's roadmap, the first batch of humans will depart in 2024 and land on Mars in 2025.
The 100 will get training in a simulation of the Mars Outpost. The next selection process will focus on composing the teams that can endure the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars.
"Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges," said Kraft.
Each crew that will go to Mars will have four members.