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Colonization of Mars...aka, We're coming for you John! (by WalkSoftly)

19-Feb-15 5:01 pm
"" (CNN)— Mars One, a group that plans to send
humans on a one-way trip to Mars, has
announced its final 100 candidates. They
have been selected from 200,000 applicants
and will go on to further testing later this
year, which they expect to include team-
building exercises and later, isolation.
Eventually, 24 will be selected to make up six
crews of four, which Mars One says they hope
to launch to the Red Planet every two years
from 2024, with the aim of starting a colony
The Dutch non-profit hopes to use existing
technology to carry out the mission.
However, the planet has always been a
difficult target for exploration, with only
around half of all unmanned missions
succeeding. The journey itself is expected to
take around seven months, and a recent MIT
study found that, should the first explorers
succeed in landing, using current technology
they would likely survive just 68 days.
So what kind of person chooses to go to
Mars on a one-way mission? The list of 100
finalists includes scientists and academics as
well as those who are just seeking the
ultimate adventure. We spoke to two of the
British hopefuls.

Alison Rigby, 35, from East London
For Rigby, a chemistry graduate, who
currently works as a secondary school lab
technician, it is a lifelong passion for space
that led to her decision to apply. "I have
always been interested in space; I grew up in
the 80s watching shuttle launches, but
always used to think that space travel was
just for the Americans. When the opportunity
came up I had to put my name forward."
But she admits that not everyone has been
happy with her decision to apply, and the
risks associated. "Generally the reaction has
been overwhelmingly positive from my friends
and family since I told them I was down to
the final 100, but it's going to be difficult for
my mum. I haven't told her yet," she says.
Rigby explains that when she first applied in
2013, her mum told her she didn't want her
to go as she knew she would be selected and
that she would never see her daughter again.
"I am very divided by it, but the way I see it, I
have a responsibility to more people," Rigby
She believes that the whole purpose of the
mission is to inspire a new generation and
that she has a responsibly to those who come
after her. And she is unfazed by those who
claim the whole idea is improbable: "Pioneers
are always ridiculed, but I am doing this for
something better, which will hopefully benefit
more people than just staying at home and
keeping my mum happy."
It is this sense of responsibility and passion
for the plans which drove Rigby through her
selection process. Her initial video
application included a speech she had
rehearsed several times, talking about how
Mars One is all about doing something for
the greater good. She also had to take a
standard medical examination and then a 15-
minute interview, where Rigby was quizzed on
past Mars missions and plans for Mars One.
She succeeded in answering every question
As for the risk -- "of course I am scared," she
says. "It's something that has never been
done before, it's a leap into the unknown.
When people ask me why I am going to Mars
to die, I say we are all going to die, but it's
important what you do before you die."

Clare Weedon, 27, from Kent, England
"I applied because it is the ultimate
opportunity," explains Weedon, a 27-year-old
manager who describes herself as somebody
who doesn't want to lead the ordinary "nine-
to-five" kind of life. "I want to be able to go
down in history," she says. "I want to be able
to say I made a difference to the future of
Weedon doesn't have a background in
science, but says she is driven by the
challenge. It's an aspiration shared by her
family: Weedon's brother also applied but
was not selected for the final 100. "My
brother is pretty jealous, but the rest of my
friends and family are proud and excited."
The only exception is Weedon's boyfriend,
who doesn't want her to go.
Weedon thinks it was her teamworking skills
which saw her through this far -- in her
current job she works as part of a group of
four, the same size as the planned Mars One
crew. But she's not pretending a trip to Mars
is going to be a walk in the park. "When I
think about it seriously I am petrified," she
says, "but that doesn't put me off, it drives
me forward." Though she admits she doesn't
know if she is the right person for the job:
"Nobody can say 100% how they will react
until training."
Like many who applied, the chance to join the
small group of people who have left our
planet is the biggest draw for Weedon. But
there are still questions over whether the
mission will even happen. As well as the MIT
study raising doubts over the technology,
Mars One must raise an estimated $6 billion,
which it hopes to achieve through various
methods, including crowdfunding,
sponsorship and sales.
But Weedon is optimistic. "I definitely think it
will happen, but in terms of the current
roadmap, I just don't know whether it will
happen on time," she says. "A lot will depend
on the unmanned missions planned for
Not daunted by the prospect of leaving
behind friends and family, Weedon believes
that the one-way trip is what needs to be
done if we are ever to colonize Mars.
"Leaving will be a test of character, but we
will still have contact through emails -- it's
not game over.""



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