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Last May, during ICT Spring, Bas Lansdorp, CEO and founder of the Mars One Foundation was in Luxembourg to address the crowd, explain the story behind his ambitious mission and tell HR professionals from the Grand-Duchy about recruiting the right people for a one-way trip to Mars.


The first steps to Mars

Before launching this project in 2012, Bas was a successful entrepreneur and engineer in the Netherlands. He sold his shares and devoted his life to sending the first humans to Mars. What motivated his choice? Well, Bas is convinced that Mars One will solve many problems on Earth as it will bring people together. If Mars One doesn’t succeed, “it’s okay”, it would have participated to such a higher purpose its impact could only by positive. He also thinks that people will be passionate about it (true!) and that children will start enjoying science again.


The mission is totally doable according to Bas. The NASA could already have sent people to Mars, they only face one problem: bringing them back to Earth! That is why Bas Lansdorp doesn’t plan on including a return trip…

Just an ordinary recruitment process

Bas’ pitch actually gathered and interested people in a way no one could have imagined: more than 200.000 people expressed interest in taking part in this exceptional mission. In a digital world it only makes sense that people had first to apply online. As a fee around 30€ was requested, this first step already discouraged less motivated applicants. It consisted of general information about the applicant, a motivation letter, a resume and a one minute video in which applicants had notably to explain their reasoning.


Candidates selected after the first round then had to provide the Mars One team with a medical statement, just like the NASA. After an interview about their astro-knowledge, and some psychological questions regarding their reaction to such or such situation, only 100 people are still in the race to land on Mars in 11 years.


The first cruise will leave in 2026, after more than 10 years of training in Mars-like conditions.


One team, 4 people, 10 years of training and one single goal

For this one-of-a-kind mission, Bas needs 2 men and 2 women, ideally from 4 different continents as it will show that people can actually work well together, no matter where they come from. He doesn’t want a leader and three followers, he wants a team. According to Bas, team and overall survival skills are more important than actual astronaut skills! In this respect, the most important aspect is creating the perfect team.

But what happens if after 5 years of training a team member drops out? The entire team gets disqualified. Bas has a plan B. And even more. More than one team will be training during these 10 years without knowing they are just the “subs”. After all, who knows if the team members will push the button on D-Day? Motivation, passion, engagement, team spirit, perks… Many HR tools and everyday challenges are part of the Mars One project.

Will Bas and Mars One succeed? Stay tuned.

Alexandre Keilmann – @Alex_Klmnn