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Canadians still in the running for one-way trip to Mars

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Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist, theweathernetwork.com

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 2:09 PM - Mars One announced its latest round of cuts Monday, and the number of Canadians still in the running dipping to just 54, from the nearly 2,000 that originally signed up. So, what's next for these potential Mars colonists?

A total of 21 Canadians were cut from the list of candidates as of Monday, due to a mixture of personal or medical reasons. According to Mars One, most of those cut for personal reasons were between the ages of 40-50, while those cut for medical reasons were in the 20-30 age group. For some of those who didn't pass the medical examination, there was very likely a sense of disappointment, but their participation up to this point may have saved their lives.

“What really left an impression with us is the fact that the medical tests turned out to have a major impact on the candidates' lives," said Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft, MD, in a statement, "as some of them found out that they needed to undergo an operation, where sick and needed medical attention, or even had a malignant form of cancer that otherwise would not have been detected in such an early stage."

Now, the 54 Canadians who made the cut, along with 651 others from nations around the world, will advance to the interviews round of the selection process, which will apparently be televised for the world to see. Although it has solely been up to the Mars One selection committee to choose candidates so far, it may very well be up to us, the public, to decide who advances to the final stage. According to the Mars One website, the audience will choose one winner from each region of the world, and the selection committee will choose additional candidates. 

After the interview stage ends and the candidates moving forward have been selected, they will be split into international teams, and will start on the first short-term training program for the mission. Their goal: prove to the world that they have the 'right stuff' to be the very first human colonists on Mars. 

Six teams of four members each are expected to advance from there to the Mars One astronaut corps, to begin their final training. The first team of four is expected to lift off sometime in 2024, for a landing on Mars in 2025, and new teams will arrive every two years afterwards. 

Can it be done?

Mars One has an ambitious plan, for sure, but doesn't necessarily reach beyond our capabilities. We don't have what it takes right at this moment, of course, but there's roughly 10 years before the first crew launches. With their dedicated approach to the mission, they could be the ones developing the technologies and techniques that we use for planetary colonization for years to come. 

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