NASA Two B.C. residents are among those shortlisted for a future flight to Mars.

Two B.C. residents took a small step towards heading to Mars when they were shortlisted for the private non-profit organization Mars One.

The foundation opened up an indiegogo campaign in hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2023. After the first four astronauts reach the red planet, more groups will join them every two years.

Alex Marion, a 26-year-old psychology graduate from Surrey, confirmed on Twitter last Monday that he was among the 1,058 applications selected for an interview for the project.

“I believe that the Mars One mission can do what everything else couldn’t, and finally unite humanity with a higher purpose. Something more than survival or competition,” said Marion on his website.

Marina Miral, 30, from Sooke on Vancouver Island has also been shortlisted to be one of 40 people to travel to Mars on a nine-month one-way ticket.

The list for the Mars One Project has been cut down from more than 200,000 applicants worldwide to 1,058. There are still more than three rounds to go in the selection process and it will take another two years before the final group is selected.

Scott McGillivray, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, called the project overly ambitious.

‘It’s like learning how to run before you learn how to walk. We haven’t even colonized the moon and we’re trying to colonize Mars?’

The directors of the $6-billion project also hope that a reality show documenting the astronaut selection, training and the first few years of settlement will help fund for the expedition.

“I don’t know how or where they’re getting the estimates for the project,” McGillivray said. “Even at $6 billion, I don’t know how they’re going to fully fund it.”

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