Over 850 Irish applicants are among the 202,586 people from around the world who have applied to take part in a proposed mission to Mars, with the aim of starting the first human settlement in space.

The Mars One project, run by a Dutch foundation, “hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023." They have been planning this mission since 2011.

In April this year the project opened its “astronaut selection program.” The first round of applications closed last week.

Mars One reported that so far 24 percent of applicants have been from the United States, ten percent are Indian and six percent are Chinese. Great Britain accounted for four percent and one percent were from Brazil.

The project confirmed with RTE that they had received over 850 applications from Ireland.

Over the next two years the Mars One project will narrow down the 202,586 applicants. The will chose only 40 people who will go into seven years of full-time training.

These trainees will “become the first humans ever to land on Mars" in 2023.

These 40 trainees will receive a one-way ticket to Mars to “live there for the rest of their lives.”

Stichting Mars One, led by the Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, is a Dutch non-for-profit foundation and also "the mother company of Interplanetary Media Group, a for-profit company, which enables the foundation to secure funds from its investors."

If you’ve dreams of being an astronaut don’t worry. Mars One is already planning regular recruitment programmes for follow-up crews.

If successful these astronauts will not be the first Irish people to go into space. Earlier this week media mogul and former pop star Sir Bob Geldof revealed that he will be travelling into space as one of the first ever Space XC astronauts in 2015.