A Surrey man is vying to become one of the few inhabitants of mankind’s first colony on Mars.

Lex Marion is looking to the skies as he campaigns to be part of Mars One – the privately-funded mission to colonize the Red Planet by the year 2023.

“I have always been a star gazer right from the time when I was five or six years old and I was looking up at the little glow-in-the-dark stickers on my ceiling of the stars and the planets,” the 26-year-old told CTV News Sunday.

When the non-profit organization first announced they were looking for pioneers to travel to Mars, Marion instantly knew he wanted to be one of them.

“It’s not about if I should apply, it’s will I get to go,” he said. “They’re only expecting to take a few hundred out of the nearly 200,000 who applied.”

The psychology graduate is hoping a strong social media presence on Twitter and Facebook will boost his chances.

Marion’s father, Peter, was the one who introduced his son to the possibility of living his life on Mars. He said it was initially just for novelty, but the idea soon took on a life of its own.

“It just kind of grew and grew, and the more we both kind of explored and looked at it, we realized that this could really possible happen. I said ‘Do you really want to do something this big?’ and he did,” Peter said.

The father is now supporting his son’s dream, even though it would be a one-way trip.

“I want this for humanity, and to have my son be a part of that, maybe they’ll name the first colony Marionville of something,” he joked.

Mars One has attracted some skepticism – such an ambitious adventure would cost at least $6-billion and take nine months just to get there.

Living on the barren planet would be a whole other story, but H.R. Macmillan Space Centre executive director Rob Appleton said the timing could be just right.

“I think there’s enough going on in technology and in research and things that this will go ahead,” he said. “Whether it’s 10 years or 20 years, we will be in Mars at some point.”

The initial application stage for the mission is now closed and Mars One will now begin narrowing down its huge list of applicants.

It plans to select the astronauts who’ll establish the permanent colony by July 2015.

“If I don’t get to go, I will obviously be crushed, but as long as it happens, that’s the important thing,” he said. “If I can be a part of that, fantastic.”

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson