More than 1,000 candidates from 200,000 hopefuls have been chosen to train for a private Mars colonization mission to be partly funded by a reality-TV show following their training and subsequent steps.

Mars One was set up in 2011 by two Dutch men with the goal of establishing permanent human life on the red planet by 2025.

The shortlist includes 36 British men and women. ITV News spoke to a selection of them about why they would want to leave Earth forever.

Ryan MacDonald (20), a Physics student at Oxford University says his friends and family weren't surprised that he applied to live on Mars.

He is single and has no children but says his younger sister would rather he stayed on Earth.

"By going to Mars I suspect I could accomplish much more for science than I could as one of seven billion people on Earth," says Ryan.

"I want to be the eyes and hands of all the researchers that can’t go themselves."

Christy Foley, a strategic planner with the Alberta Ministry of Environment, is another candidate who has been shortlisted for a one-way ticket to the Red Planet as part of the Mars One project.

She said that her childhood fascination with space, coupled with a one-time meeting with a Canadian astronaut, fuelled her desire to reach Mars.

"I've grown up star-gazing and watching sci-fi…I met Roberta Bondar," she said. "These all add to my desire to take the next step forward and colonize Mars."

But Foley will be taking that next step by herself as her husband, who also applied, didn't make the first cut. While it was initially hard for her to accept, Foley said she has her husband's full support.

"This dream is so much bigger than one relationship. He recognizes that and he wants to help me reach the stars," she said, adding that he is planning on re-applying in the summer and may still be eligible for the mission.

"He doesn't want to anchor me to the Earth... When he said that, it made my heart flutter." As she proceeds to the second round of the selection process, Foley will face an interview by the Mars One selection committee as well as a medical examination.

There are four selection rounds in total, with the third and fourth rounds being open to a public vote. The space-bound settlers will be on a one-way ticket to the Red Planet, which lies a minimum 55 million km and six months travel from Earth. Costs are too high to contemplate a return trip.

Mars One said the space-bound settlers will be on a one-way ticket to the Red Planet which lies a minimum 34 million miles and six months travel from Earth. Costs are too high to contemplate a return trip.

Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft said in a statement released in late December that the next phases in 2014 and 2015 will include "rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of our remaining candidates.
"We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind."
Once underway, the Mars One mission will begin sending groups of four to Mars to begin populating the planet.