Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Four South Africans make round three of Mars One mission

The objective of Dutch non-profit Mars One is simple: to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. 

Mars One will begin training candidates for space travel up until its 2024 planned launch, when – if all goes well – teams of successful candidates from around the world will form part of the first human colony on Mars.

Adriana Marais, a masters student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who the Mail & Guardian first spoke to when she made it through round one, and is now one of the final four South Africans, said: “What the first colonisers will do on Mars is really the pinnacle of four billion years of evolution.” 

“I would volunteer to leave my life on earth behind to see what’s out there. I’m prepared to sacrifice my personal joys, sorrows and day-to-day life for this idea, this adventure, this achievement that would not be mine, but that of all humanity.”

But the four candidates, who hail from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo, do not have a certain ticket to the fourth rock from the sun. They will now be part of further selection rounds, which will “focus on composing teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars,” Mars One said.

The candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars outpost on Earth, and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team, the non-profit said.

“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,” said Dr Norbert Kraft, managing director of Mars One.

New call for candidates this year
Marais, who was part of the Mail & Guardian’s Science Voices initiative, wrote about the interconnection about life and quantum biology here, and how life on Earth began.

The question of whether there was once life on Mars is one that puzzles scientists and is a possible research question for teams deployed to Mars.

However, a study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year questioned the viability of the project, and suggested that the project would in fact be sending successful candidates to a premature death. 

But if you, like the more than 200 000 initial applicants who were not successful, would like to be part of the first human colony on Mars, this year Mars One will open a new call for applicants.

Correction: We mistakenly described Mars as the second planet from the Sun in an earlier version of this article. It is the fourth.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Sarah Wild
Sarah Wild is a multiaward-winning science journalist. She studied physics, electronics and English literature at Rhodes University in an effort to make herself unemployable. It didnt work and she now writes about particle physics, cosmology and everything in between.In 2012, she published her first full-length non-fiction book Searching African Skies: The Square Kilometre Array and South Africas Quest to Hear the Songs of the Stars, and in 2013 she was named the best science journalist in Africa by Siemens in their 2013 Pan-African Profiles Awards.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 relief grant will be paid into bank accounts or...

There are concerns that post office branch closures will make it difficult for beneficiaries to access the grant

South Africa at risk of spillover from international inflation, economists...

Higher international oil prices, for example, could affect local transport costs through second-round effects

More top stories

Companies affected by unrest can apply for support as soon...

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi urges employers to be honest when applying for help

Mboweni extends R38bn to cope with double calamity of Covid-19...

The finance minister extended the Ters relief and the social distress relief grant, and also ensured businesses hit by looting can access insurance

South Africa appalled that Israel given AU observer status

The international relations department has released a statement condemning the decision

Coal on a drive to delay its demise

The just transition that is currently being executed is a balance between energy security and climate change, according to one analyst
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×