851 Irish people have expressed an interest in travelling to Mars to begin a human settlement there.

Earlier this week the private Mars One project revealed that since the application process opened in April it had received applications from 202,586 people from around the globe.

Responding to a subsequent question from RTÉ News, Mars One revealed today that 851 of those people come from Ireland.

More than 200,000 people around the world have applied to become astronauts on a programme that hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.

The Mars One Astronaut Selection Program began accepting applications in April, and has now closed. Interest was expressed by 202,586 people from around the globe.

Led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation that proposes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars ten years from now.

According to its backers, human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies.

The organisation plans to select and train the crew that will settle permanently on the red planet. It claims the mission can be financed through the public interest generated by the mission.

Applicants for the mission come from over 140 countries, with 24% originating in the United States, 10% from India, 6% from China and 5% from Brazil.

The 200,000 will be whittled down in three subsequent rounds over the next two years, after which six to ten teams of four will be selected for seven years of full-time training.

Disappointed applicants who missed the first round will have further chances, as Mars One will commence regular recruitment programmes for follow-up crews.