A handout of the European Space Agency ESA shows a visualisation of Mars, created from spacecraft imagery.Reuters

Mars One, a non-profit Dutch organisation which is aiming to send astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars, has received about 78,000 entries from applicants in just two weeks.

Mars One launched its astronaut selection programme on 22 April. The online application is the first of the four rounds in the Mars One selection procedure. Just two weeks into the five-month application period, the organisation has received 78,000 applications from more than 120 countries.

The United States leads the list with 17,324, followed by China with 10,241 and United Kingdom with 3,581 entries. Other countries including India, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina make up the top 10 places from where high number of applications were received, reported

"With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history," Mars One Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. "These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants."

Mars One is planning to send humans to the Red Planet on a one-way trip in 2023 for the purpose of building a colony of settlers there. Anyone who is at least 18 years old, adaptable and willing to work in a team can apply for the trip by submitting a one-minute video to the Mars One website, explaining why he or she should be selected to become a Mars settler. All candidates have to submit their application on

The application videos will be accepted for a fee that will vary from the developed nations to the poor nations. The fee ranges from $5 to $75 depending on the wealth of the nation. According to the report, 50 to 100 candidates (from each of the 300 regions around the world that Mars One identifies) will be selected for the next round. A total of 28 to 40 candidates will be selected by 2015 and will be split into groups of four. They will undergo training during a seven-year period preceding their trip to Mars. The potential settlers will be given the skills they will need to live in conditions prevailing in the Mars colony. Mars one is planning to send the first group of four settlers to the planet in 2023.

According to their estimations, the project would cost about $6 billion. The organisation is hoping to raise money by getting the whole project - from selection process, first landing on Mars and colonization - to be televised as a global reality-TV event.

Television viewers will vote to pick which group will be the first to land on Mars. Before the settlers make touchdown, a self-sustaining habitat will be set up with help of rovers. Once the first group reaches the Red Planet, more settlers will follow every two years.