Friday, January 10, 2014

Off to Mars on a One Way Trip

This undated photo made available in London Wednesday Feb. 16, 2005, was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope of the planet Mars. (AP)

Mars One selects 75 Canadians in second round for one-way mission 
When Mars One announced their intention to put the first human colony on Mars, nearly 2,000 Canadians threw their names into the hat. Now, after the first round of cuts, just 75 remain in the running for a one-way ticket to the Red Planet. For some of the applicants who have moved on to the next round, going into space has been a life-long dream, regardless of their age.

Take 19-year-old Audrey Roy, from Saint-Ephrem-de-Beauce, Quebec, who was one of the few selected to allow their name to go public.
"I've always said that if such a trip would happen in my lifetime, I would do everything it takes to be part of it," Roy said. She went on to say that there was some sadness, on both sides, when she told her friends and family, because if she's selected, they'll never see each other again.
"It breaks my heart to actually leave them, but I've had a talk with them and they understand it is my dream since I was young".

For others, their dream has been on hold substantially longer.
Claude Gauthier, a 60-year-old math and physics professor at the University of Moncton, remembers watching the first moon landing with a hint of sadness.
"When they went to the moon in 1969, I was 16 years old," he recalled. "I was sad because it was not me."
Gauthier has already tried three times to become an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, but was turned down all three times. He's not sure why he made the cut for the Mars One mission. However, he said that it's inspiring, to both him and others, that he was chosen.
"I think it's opened the mind of people to space and adventure, science, math. I think it's good, especially for very young people, less than 10 years old. They are very wide-eyed when we talk about Mars being one way only! — it's amazing."

For others who have been chosen, the news came as bitter-sweet.
Both Christy Foley, a 32-year-old government employee in Edmonton, and her 33-year-old husband submitted their applications. She was chosen. He was not."We were both incredibly surprised about my making it — not so much about him not making it," she said. "We both had hopes, but there was no expectation there, so it was quite incredible to get the email."

Another round of cuts is scheduled for April, after those selected go through a thorough medical examination, and this will be followed by a third cut later this year. A final cut to select those who will begin training in 2015 will bring the number of candidates down to just 24 from the original 200,000.

For everyone who will be making the trip, and their families, it's a tough choice they have ahead of them. Given the limitations of technology, anyone who goes to Mars won't be coming back, and the one-way nature of the trip has some seeing it a suicide mission.
Alex Marion, a 26-year-old from Surrey, B.C. who also made it into the next round, isn't worried though.
"I have absolutely no doubt that they can get us there safely and they're not going to send us unless the colony is ready to go," he said. "I have no concerns that it's a suicide mission at all."

For Stephen Fenech, a 45-year-old from Toronto who's looking to expand his Earthly travels into space, he sees it in a rather pragmatic way.
"If it means my death at the end, so be it," he said. "I'm going to die anyway [and] it'll be a more interesting way to go — that's for sure."

A one way trip has obvious technical advantages, but what does this mean for the astronauts themselves? That depends on who you ask. You could say that most people would rather lose a leg than live the rest of their life on a cold, hostile planet, having said goodbye to friends and family forever, the best possible video call suffering from a seven minute delay—one way.
However, there are individuals for whom traveling to Mars has been a dream for their entire life. They relish the challenge. Not unlike the ancient Chinese, Micronesians, and untold Africans, the Vikings and famed explorers of Old World Europe, who left everything behind to spend the majority of their lives at sea, a one-way mission to Mars is about exploring a new world and the opportunity to conduct the most revolutionary research ever conceived, to build a new home for humans on another planet.
Mars One will offer everyone who dreams the way the ancient explorers dreamed the opportunity to apply for a position in a Mars One Mission. Are you one for whom this is a dream?

I wish you all the best of luck, my friends. I'm pretty sure that I would be scared sh**less.

1 comment:

Through this ever open gate
None come too early
None too late
Thanks for dropping in ... the PICs