Based: Cape Town
Adriana Marais is a beautiful, young South African. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis in quantum physics. She wants to go to Mars on a one-way ticket.
“The Mars One Project was started by Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders in 2011” she said, “The objective is to establish life on Mars, and for me what is most fascinating would be to discover what life, if any, exists there.
“The idea is to build a project to which all of humanity can contribute.
“At an estimated cost of US$ 6 Billion, it will be privately funded, mostly via reality TV.
“It will take seven months to get there. Astronauts will travel in batches of four commencing 2024.
“24 ‘settlers’ is the Phase 1 goal.
“Initially, around 200 000 aspiring Martians showed interest on the website.
“This has been whittled down to a current 663 (the second round) – I (Adriana) and 19 other South Africans are still in the running. Of the 1058 initially selected for Round 2 45% female and 55% male. Several teams of 2 men and 2 women will commence training at the end of 2015.
“SA was in the top 10 countries of successful Round 2 applicants – of the 1058 initially selected).
“At the beginning of 2015 the list will be shortened further. For me this is the ultimate adventure and I am honoured to be involved in the project.
“I remind you, this is a one-way ticket.”
As I listened to this fascinating presentation my first questions were:
- Are you crazy?
- How will you live there?
- How will the technology cope?
- Why ‘on earth’ are you doing this? (Couldn’t resist that one!)
Adriana replies, “18 out of 43 missions to Mars have been successful, but humans have never been there, and nothing has ever come back.
It is a one-way trip – issues are low gravity (1/3 of earth) – but, who knows, advances in technology could mean a return trip becomes available in 20 years?