The Mars One project has picked its 100 candidates out of the initial 202,586 applicants for its next round of Mars One Astronaut Selection Process which will ultimately see around 40 undertake a one-way trip to Mars to set up a colony on the red planet.

50 men and 50 women make up the 100 candidates with 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania, the Mars One project announced.

Co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp said in a press release: “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars. These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”

Round 3 of the selection process involved an online personal interview wherein candidates were required to show understanding of the risks involved in visiting the planet, team spirit and their motivation to be a part of this life-changing journey and expedition. The 100 were selected from a pool of 660 candidates.

During the interviews the candidates had a chance to show their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of this life changing expedition. “We were impressed with how many strong candidates participated in the interview round, which made it a very difficult selection” said Dr. Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer.

According to Mars One, the next selection rounds will see teams enduring all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars. The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.

“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 Dr. Norbert Kraft.

The privately funded project, which has been ongoing since 2012, will give the successful applicants a one-way trip to Mars in an attempt to colonise the planet.

When on Mars, the space settlers will inhabit living units of 50sqm per person. They will be using inflatable components as bedrooms, working areas, and living rooms. They will also be having a plant production unit, which will allow them to grow vegetables.

Mars One has’t ruled out a return trip to Earth, but once the settlers have become used to the low gravity situation they will not be able to adjust to the higher gravity because of a change in their physiology, including a reduction in bone density, muscle strength and circulatory system capacity.