(NEW YORK) — Applications to leave Earth and become the first Mars settlers in 2023 are pouring in, according to Mars One.
The privately-funded foundation says more than 78,000 people from over 120 countries have applied to its astronaut selection program just two weeks into the 19-week application period.
The majority of the applicants have been from the U.S., followed by China and the U.K.
“With seventy-eight thousand applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history. These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants,” Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp said in a statement Tuesday.
Those interested in settling Mars in 10 years can continue to apply online through the end of August. The selection process, which is made up of four rounds, will be completed in 2015.
Up to 40 people will be selected to train for seven years for the mission. An “audience vote will [then] elect one of [the] groups in training to be the envoys of humanity to Mars,” the foundation says.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Don Melvin and Greg Botelho, CNN Newswire
Barbara Starr, Jim Sciutto, Jim Acosta, Stephen Collinson and Tom LoBianco, CNN Newswire