Australians compete for one-way trip to Mars

By Efrosini Costa

Australians compete for one-way trip to Mars
Seven Australians are amongst those competing for a coveted one-way ticket to Mars.

The seven are among a shortlist of 100 candidates competing for a one-way trip to the planet Mars, to establish the red planet’s first colony.

Nineteen-year-old Sare Teah, stand-up comedian Josh Richards and geoscientist Electra Navarone are among the Australian finalists for the Mars One project, which aims to begin settling the fourth planet from the sun from 2025.

Set up by Dutch entrepeuner Bad Lansdorp, the project claims to have received more than 200,000 application from ‘budding Martians’.

According to a statement released by the project organisers, the list will be whittled down to 50 men and 50 women. Groups of four will be sent to the planet every 26 months beginning in 2024.

Candidates will be chosen based on: “their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of this life-changing expedition.”

Nobert Kraft, the project’s chief medical officer, said the next selection rounds would focus on building strong teams that could withstand the isolation of such an interplanetary settlement.

“Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges,” Kraft said.

Locations for the training facilities are currently being scouted, but independent researchers are sceptical about whether the project could sustain life on the red planet. Scientists have suggested that the feat would require “technologies that are more capable than the current state of the art.”

Mars One aims to grow crops inside the interplanetary colony, composed of space capsules and an inflatable habitat. The independent researchers say that might actually lead to a suffocating oversupply of oxygen that they predicted would cause the first astronaut to die after 68 days.

Finalists, including Dianne McGrath from Melbourne, remained unperturbed. “Whether people think it’s going to be Mars One, or Nasa, or some other program, we will go to Mars, it’s on the agenda for space exploration,” she said in a rceent interview.

“That’s part of the human spirit, to continue to explore. I’m just lucky to be part of that.”



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