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.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday