As a kid, I was always interested in what was beyond our world. I remember lying down on the top of my dad's car and watching the stars for hour, gleefully excited whenever a shooting star streaked across the night sky.
I would force my dad to take me to the library, just so I could check out tons of books on everything from wormholes and black holes to the creation of stars and planets.
There was just something about the stars that attracted me; the world we live on just seemed too small—a mere grain of sand.
In kindergarten, they made us draw what we wanted to be when we got older. I drew a picture of me on Mars and wrote that I wanted to be the "First Astronaut on Mars."
When I think about it now, it almost seems foolish that I wished for such an unrealistic dream. Everyone else wanted to be a police officer or a doctor, and here I was with my head in the clouds dreaming for such an unattainable goal.
Even now it seems like a stretch to achieve, seeing as we haven't even had a man on the Moon since 1972—over 40 years ago.
But all of that can change...
Yesterday, Mars One, a Netherlands-based organization, released their qualifications to be part of the first human mission to Mars in 2023. The selection process, which will start later this year, is open to anyone across the world that's over the age of 18.
The attributes they are looking for are that of someone with "emotional and psychological stability, supported by personal drive and motivation." They want people that are resilient, adaptable, curious, able to trust, creative, and resourceful.
Mars One also wants someone who is willing to not only risk their life, but to completely sacrifice it for the sake of the mission, as there is no way back to Earth. Once the astronauts land on Mars, that's where they will call home.
The application and selection process will be divided into four separate rounds once it begins:
- Round 1
This will consist of submitting a general application online, a motivational letter, a resume, and a one-minute video where you will explain why you deserve to be the chosen for the mission. At the end of this round, experts will choose who moves on to the second round.
- Round 2
You will need to get checked by physician to check if you're in good health. You will then be invited to meet with a Mars One selection committee in your region, where you will be interviewed.
- Round 3
You will be part of the 20-40 applicants, chosen from the previous round, who will participate in challenges to prove your ability to survive and persevere on Mars. This is televised worldwide, and the audience will choose one winner from each country, while the Mars One experts will select their own winners to move on to the next round.
- Round 4
The Mars One selection committee will create international groups for each country. The groups will be trained and then expected to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions and work together. Out of all the groups, only four will become full-time employees of Mars One, where they will train for their mission.
The four chosen individuals will leave for Mars in September 2022, when it will be over 38 million miles away from Earth. The rest will leave for Mars at a later time. Mars One and the public will determine who leaves for Mars first, choosing only the best fit for the first mission.
If you're serious about being part of this historic mission (like me), then sign up here to receive updates and announcements regarding the program and selection process.
I've always dreamed about flying into space, and it seems that the chance is finally here—not only for me, but for all of those that used to look up into the sky and wonder.