The company said that the next phase would include interviews to further whittle down the field.

"After the interview round, the group of candidates will be narrowed down to several international teams consisting of two women and two men," Mars One said in a statement. "These teams of prospective Mars settlers will be prepared for the mission by participating full time in an extensive training program. Training to go to Mars will be their full time job."

Those chosen for the mission will be on a one-way trip with a goal of establishing a permanent human colony on Mars, the company said. Mars One plans to finance the endeavor by turning the selection process into a reality television show.

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