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21/08/2013 11:30 | By Jamie Carter, contributor, MSN Innovation
Will you be joining the manned Mars missions?

Huge numbers join the waiting list

Curiosity approaches Mars back in 2012 (© NASA/JPL-Caltech)
  • Curiosity approaches Mars back in 2012 (© NASA/JPL-Caltech)
  • The Mars One Lander is scheduled for touch-down in 2023 (© Bryan Versteeg and Mars One)
  • Mars One astronauts will live in an inflatable habitat (© Bryan Versteeg and Mars One.jpg)
  • The Mars One project will have to find Martian ice to melt using solar power (© Bryan Versteeg and Mars One)
  • SpaceX's Dragon capsule could one day swap ISS missions for Mars (© SpaceX)
  • Grasshopper, SpaceX's remarkable reusable rocket, could be ideal for Mars missions (© SpaceX)
  • Curiosity identified serious radiation problems for astronauts (© NASA/JPL-Caltech)
  • Mars as seen in simulation by the isolated crew of Mars500 in 2011 (© ESA)
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No sooner has Curiosity celebrated its first year on Mars than 100,000 people have signed up for a one-way ticket to join it on the surface thanks to a Dutch company's plans to colonise the red planet – by 2023!

Studded with the gaping Valles Marineris canyon, the biggest known mountains in the Universe (Olympus Mons) and countless volcanoes, Mars has floodplains on its iron oxide surface while below there is evidence of ice. Temperatures fluctuate, but it's very cold. Perfect? No – but it's by far the most similar planet to Earth in our solar system, and one of the nearest, too.

With two Mars rovers currently on the surface and three satellites in orbit, we're obviously obsessed with the red planet, but it now seems that private, commercial exploration and settlement of other planets is being seriously discussed. It looks like we're going to Mars.

Please click on the image above to view the rest of the story

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