Mars One’s teams of prospective Mars inhabitants will be prepared for the mission by participating full time in an extensive training program. This will be their full time, paid job. The training is split up into three programs: technical training, personal training and group training.
Technical training: The astronauts will be required to learn many new skills and gain proficiency in a wide variety of disciplines. At least two astronauts must be proficient in the use and repair of all equipment in order to be able to identify and solve technical problems.
At least two astronauts will receive extensive medical training in order to be able to treat minor and critical health problems, including first aid and use of the medical equipment that will accompany them to Mars. At least one person will train in studies on Mars geology while another will gain expertise in 'exobiology', the biology of alien life. Other specialties like physiotherapy, psychology and electronics will be shared among the four astronauts in each of the initial groups.
Mars One will ensure that in each group, at least two crew members will be trained in each essential skill-set in case a member becomes ill. Their training and preparations will take all the time between their admittance to the program, and the start of their journey to Mars.
As the population on Mars increases, each new arrival will be able to bring with him or her an area of expertise. In time, this will reduce astronaut training time and requirements.
Personal training: The ability of astronauts to cope with the difficult living environment on Mars will be an important selection criteria. For example, an astronauts’ mobility will be restricted for a long period of time, and they will no longer be able to speak to friends and family on Earth face-to-face (read here how they can communicate with people on Earth). They will be able to receive psychological assistance from Earth if they wish, via long-range communications. The astronauts will be initially chosen for their inherent ability to cope with these environments, and will receive training on most effectively dealing with them.
Group training: Group training will take place in the form of simulation missions. A simulation mission is an extensive, fully immersive exercise that prepares the astronauts for the real mission to Mars. The simulated environment will invoke as many of the Mars conditions as possible. Immediately after selection, the groups will participate in these simulations for three months per year. During simulations, astronauts will only be able to leave the base when wearing their Mars suits. They will have to take care of their water supply and keep the life support systems up and running. They must also cultivate their own food, and all communications with the outside world will be artificially delayed by twenty minutes.
There will be several simulation bases, some easy to access for early stage, while others will be located in a harsh environments on Earth, providing realistic desert terrain and drastically cold conditions. These trials will demonstrate whether they are suitable for all elements of the task ahead. Can the astronauts keep the group functioning? Will they keep a cool head when confronted with a challenge? Can they effectively and efficiently solve given and uprising problems?