An offer that’s out of this world

by Cameron Edmond26 Jul 2013

When the Mars One project, a $6billion initiative by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Landorp, put out the call for applicants for its one-way trip to colonise Mars, it was overwhelmed – 78,000 applications were received in the first two weeks.

As any HR professional knows, a massive influx of applications is a double-edged sword: Naturally, you are more likely to find the perfect worker, but 78,000? That is a lot of video submissions and interviews to get through, especially for something as critical and life-changing as this: the trip is a one-way ticket, with the team living out the rest of their lives on Mars.

In a clever marketing ploy, guaranteed to gain headlines, one HR start-up,, is offering its behavioural assessment solution to Mars One absolutely free, to help cut down on submissions through the evaluation of your usual characteristics: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.

These ‘big five’ traits apparently align well with what it takes to be a good astronaut.

“Every single person possesses some degree of these characteristics – the secret is in matching up each individual’s unique ‘mix’ of personality traits with the characteristics required for a Mars One team member,”  Dr Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at University of Toronto, said.

The Mars One mission is looking for 40 astronauts to send, making it clear that the team will not be returning to Earth.

Is there life on Mars? One wonders what David Bowie would make of it all…