Would you boldly go where no man has gone before if it meant you could never come home? According to Popular Science, the answer is yes for the 200,000-plus people that have applied for the privately-funded, Netherlands-based space expedition Mars One.

Since the space project began its public recruitment campaign in April, 202,586 individuals from more than 140 countries have submitted personal videos on why they should be picked for the one-way mission to the “5th rock from the sun”.

Mars One, a nonprofit foundation, aims to establish a human settlement on Mars within a decade. Between 24 and 40 candidates will be selected to participate in a seven-year training program that would start in 2015. The Martian prospectors would then be sent to the red planet in groups of four.

The settlers, equipped with life support systems and Martian humvees, would construct lab facilities for conducting research and living quarters with food gardens.

Mars greenhouse. Credit: Mars One Mars One

So who would leave everybody behind to face unknown perils? What is running through the minds of those who would leave the Earth and everything they know behind? It’s a question that the Mars One project poses on its website:

You could say that most people would rather lose a leg than live the rest of their life on a cold, hostile planet, having said goodbye to friends and family forever, the best possible video call suffering from a seven minute delay—one way.

Mars lander. Credit: Mars One Mars One

However, there are individuals for whom traveling to Mars has been a dream for their entire life. They relish the challenge. Not unlike the ancient Chinese, Micronesians, and untold Africans, the Vikings and famed explorers of Old World Europe, who left everything behind to spend the majority of their lives at sea, a one-way mission to Mars is about exploring a new world and the opportunity to conduct the most revolutionary research ever conceived, to build a new home for humans on another planet.

The first human mission — with a price tag of $6 billion — will use SpaceX rockets and is slated to launch in 2023. Would you apply?