Three candidates told us exactly what they had to do to make it through the latest Mars One selection round. Spoiler: It wasn’t much.
Over 200,000 people applied, even though they’d never be able to return to Earth. Mars One just announced the final 100 candidates. BuzzFeed spoke to three hopefuls to find out more about the mission
2. Meet 20-year-old Zaskia Elena Andrea Antelo Mercado. “I’d rather die in adventure than live my whole life doing nothing,” she says.
Mercado is a metal fan who is originally from Bolivia. Her adventures brought her to China, where she studied with kung fu masters. Right now, she’s studying international relations and anthropology at the University of Sussex in England.
Mercado’s strongest motivation for going to Mars seems to be her love of learning, but she’s unsure if she’ll be able to learn things like medicine and engineering within 10 years. “I don’t think I’m ready to be the first crew,” Mercado told BuzzFeed.
She stresses, though, that she is not afraid of dying because of her belief in reincarnation.
According to Mercado, Mars One hopes to fund the project by selling products. “Right now, they are selling mugs,” she said. Besides merchandise revenue, the team is asking for donations. “[Unlike NASA] we are not taking anyone’s taxes,” she said. “NASA is doing it for politics to show that the USA is competitive.”
3. She says, “I didn’t expect to actually pass because of my English.”
Mercado says she initially had to fill out an application, answer a few questions, and then wait to hear back from the team in three to six months.
In the second round, Mercado had to send them a signed statement from a doctor proving that she was physically and mentally healthy. Around 600 people passed the test.
The final round, which narrowed the pool down to 100, involved a one-on-one interview via video chat with Norbert Kraft, M.D., a psychologist who worked on long-duration space flight research for NASA. The interview lasted 11 minutes, and it included technical questions about the rover. “My English went away. I got really nervous,” she said.
4. Oscar Matthews, 32, recently got accepted into Old Dominion University’s Ph.D. program in aerospace engineering.
Oscar Matthews is a Virginia native and Navy reservist who wants to find out if there’s life on Mars. He paid $35 for the initial application fee. [We did the math and Mars One made around two million dollars from American applicants]. According to Matthews, candidates had to memorize 10 pages of technical information to prepare for the interview with Dr. Kraft.
Matthews has no doubt that humans will go to Mars eventually, but he also thinks that it’s healthy to be skeptical about Mars One. Matthews told BuzzFeed, “It’s obvious that it’s not a scam, but the biggest question is, how are we going to raise enough money to make it happen?” Although he thinks the timeline may be a bit ambitious, he believes it’s technically feasible.
He thinks they’ll be able to do this if they receive around $6 billion. “India did a recent Mars mission for around $100,000,” he said. “If Mars One turns out to fail to launch a successful mission to Mars, at least the conversation has been started.”
5. Natalie Joy Lawler, 36, says, “We haven’t done anything extraordinary. I didn’t think I showed who I really was in the interview.”
Natalie Joy Lawler is an Australian math teacher and a divorced mother of a 9-year-old and 14-year-old. She believes she was chosen because she’s not the typical applicant. “Mothers in their thirties don’t typically see the value in space exploration,” Lawler told BuzzFeed.
Lawler believes that the technology to go to Mars is proven and that it will not fail. “We won’t be using any technology that isn’t tried and tested, unlike the lunar lander,” she said. “I have total faith in Mars One.”
Lawler says that she can live without earthly pleasures. “I have no intention of returning, even if there was a possibility,” she said.