Over 200,000 people (202,586 to be precise) have applied for the first round of the Astronaut Selection Program run by not-for-profit Mars One. The trip, in case you did not know, is one way: the applicants must resign themselves to the fact that, barring massive advances in propulsion systems, they will probably never leave the red planet.
What is in store for the applicants? Over the next year and a half, 200,000+ volunteers ill be pruned down into 40 potential candidates. These 40 will be divided into ten groups of four, who will undergo seven years of intensive training. In the end, one team will be selected, which will (barring bureaucratic interference) then go to Mars. Assuming that they make it there safely, those four people will then have to eek out an existence together for the rest of their lives. If that sounds like a special version of hell to you then you probably should not apply to go to Mars.
Imagine if the whole thing was just an elaborate, well-planned hoax. It would make for one hell of a reality show: you put the people through all of that training, shoot them into space, have them orbit the Earth for the approximate duration the space voyage, bring them down, stick them in a dome surrounded by video screens so that they can look out and see a Martian landscape… and see how long it takes them to figure out. It has to be worth at least ten years of comedy gold.