London - To boldly go where no man has gone before is quite a challenge.

But to boldly go knowing that you will never return to Earth may be asking a bit too much.

This has not deterred a Dutch-led research institute, however, which has launched a search for volunteers to take part in a one-way mission to Mars... where they would set up a human settlement.

Successful candidates will have to undergo eight years of training before blast-off in 2023.

The Mars One Institute pulled no punches: “They should realise that if this project is successful, they won’t be coming back.”

Former Nasa researcher Norbert Kraft, Mars One’s medical director, said: “Gone are the days when bravery and the number of hours flying a supersonic jet were the top criteria for selection. Now, we are more concerned with how well each astronaut works and lives with the others – and for a lifetime of challenges ahead.”

Mars One aims to raise money to help fund the project through a long-running, global, reality TV show, which will select the first 24 candidates and follow their training.

Viewers would vote for who should be on the first team of four to leave Earth in ten years time. By 2033 the colony would reach 20 settlers.

Journey time to Mars, which is approximately 40 million miles away depending on its position in orbit, would be around 200 days.

Settlers would encounter a barren, cratered landscape, an unbreathable atmosphere made up of 95 percent carbon dioxide and temperatures ranging from 35C to minus 135C. - Daily Mail