Over 600 Chinese have applied to join an ambitious Dutch aerospace project that plans to send humans on a one-way trip to Mars for permanent settlement.
The Dutch project, while triggering enthusiasm to explore outer space, is also under fire with the trip being viewed by some as a suicide mission, with applicants being shipped to a planet that is uninhabitable by humans.
The project, Mars One, is being launched by a Dutch non-profit organisation, and is scheduled to take four humans to the Red Planet in 2023.
In the first three days after it was launched this week, over 20,000 people from all over the world submitted their applications online, with more than 600 coming from China, state-run China Daily reported.
Bas Lansdorp, co-founder of Mars One, told the media in Shanghai that he is confident of turning the dream into reality, and plans to attract more than five lakh applicants.
The Chinese enthusiasm to travel to Mars is building up as China, which has a well funded space programme focussing on Moon missions and building a space station, is planning a three-phase Mars space missions to collect samples from the Red Planet by 2030.