Mars One

Mars One reveals new details on Astronaut Selection Round Three

Amersfoort, 6th of June 2016 - Mars One released new information about the third round in the Astronaut Selection Program during a private Mars One event in Amsterdam. The third selection round is designed to trim down the remaining 100 candidates to forty through a series of group challenges. The candidates will compose the groups for the third round themselves.

Over the course of five days, candidates will face various challenges. It will be the first time all candidates will meet in person and demonstrate their capabilities as a team. Candidates will start the group challenges in 10 groups of 10. These groups will change throughout Round Three due to continuous elimination, and the selection round will end with 40 candidates.

In this round the candidates will play an active role in decision making/group formation. Mars One has asked the candidates to group themselves into teams with the people they believe they can work well with. All groups have to adhere to certain criteria, such as a gender ratio of 50/50, as well as maintaining age and nationality diversity. The self-selection placement has already started.

“We want the groups to be as diverse as possible, and to utilize the uniqueness and special contribution from, for example, different backgrounds in order to solve complex problems, as a continuation of the work in JAXA and NASA”, clarifies Mars One’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Norbert Kraft.

The majority of the challenges Mars One plans to conduct were previously used in a study by NASA in order to determine:

  • The best crew / crew combination
  • The best selection tools
  • The best training method for long duration space flights.

Indoor and outdoor group challenges will, amongst other things, test the candidates’ ability to work in a team within limited conditions, interdependency, trust, their problem-solving and creativity skills, their thoroughness and precision, and their clarity and relevance of communication. The candidates’ knowledge of provided study materials is essential to progress in the challenges. Candidates are eliminated based on their behavior both inside and outside the group challenges, which will be reviewed by the selection committee. At the end of each day, a sociogram will be used to explore the candidates’ preferences with whom they would like to work and live with, and this will be taken into consideration by the selection committee when deciding whom to select out. Every day, ten to twenty candidates will leave the selection.

The selection procedure will provide insights into group dynamics. How did the candidates organize themselves into teams? How well did they solve problems as a team? How did each candidate handle the conflicts that inevitably emerge when facing a challenge together?

“The challenges are designed to determine the candidate’s key competencies. Additionally, individual debriefing sessions after each group challenge will provide us with insights into morale, motivation, norm settings, coping strategies and decision making.”, explains Dr. Kraft.

The Mars One candidates come from all over the planet, and will undertake the long journey to Mars to live there for the rest of their lives. Mars One selection committee members Norbert Kraft, M.D., Prof. Raye Kass, PhD, and James Kass, PhD possess understanding of different cultures as well as many years of experience working with extreme environments, and, of utmost importance, isolated habitats. They have professional experience in the field of Human Space Flight (Group Dynamics/ Long duration Space Flight/ Medicine/Psychology/ Psycho-physiology) and extensive work with astronauts from JAXA, NASA, CSA, ESA, and RFSA.

From this selection round onward, the selection procedure and training activities of the astronaut candidates will be filmed for audiences across the globe. Forty remaining Round Four Candidates will begin the isolation portion of the screening process. The results of the isolation challenge will reduce the forty candidates down to thirty who will then undergo the Mars Settler Suitability Interview. “It will be exciting to see how groups are formed and which candidates will succeed these selection rounds.“, concludes Dr. Kraft.

More Information

Dr. Norbert Kraft answers four questions about Round Three in Mars One's Astronaut Selection Process:

In a keynote presentation at Mars One's VIP event in Amsterdam (NL), Dr. Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s Chief Medical Officer provides new details about Mars One's Astronaut Selection Round Three:


About Mars One

Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone's mission to Mars, including yours. Join Mars One’s efforts to enable the next giant leap for mankind.