A Sussex student has become of one of 100 candidates to participate in a one-way trip to Mars.
Zaskia Antelo, a third year International Relations and Anthropology student, was chosen by the not-for-profit organisation Mars One, which aim to form a human colony on the surface of the ‘Red Planet’ within the next ten years.
Over 200,000 applied for the opportunity to be one of the first to explore Mars, with the shortlisted candidates to be whittled down to 24 over the next few years.
Antelo, who is the only representative from her home country of Bolivia for the mission, is hoping to be one of the 24 planned settlers who would colonise the planet.
In an exclusive interview with The Badger, she said: “I applied as I think
Mars One fulfils everything I’ve always wanted to do with my life.
“I am always looking to learn, to live, and to adventure into the unknown, so the mission seemed to fulfil all these.
“I’ve always kind of dreamed about exploring space but never thought it could actually happen.
“However, if there’s an opportunity, I’ll take it and that’s what I’m doing.”
She explained what the “chosen ones” would do once on the surface, saying: “Once we arrive on Mars, we will have to work on constructing the settlement, carry out maintenance, since our lives will depend on the technology, carry out research, whilst having leisure time, including reading, writing and painting.”
When asked about her feelings about the prospect leaving friends and family behind on Earth, she said: “I am willing todoitasIknowitcouldbeworthit.
“My friends and family have all told me that they expect me to stay, and my
mum told me she wanted me to lose the latest round.
“Although they don’t want me to keep on with the project, they do want me to be happy and they know that I’ll always do what I want in the end and they trust that I’ll choose wisely.
“I knew I would make it this far in the process, but from here on, I don’t know what could happen.”
Eight candidates from the United Kingdom have made it to the final 100 for the one-way mission, including Durham University student Hannah Earnshaw. Speaking about the mission, Hannah said: “Putting a colony on Mars is just a small step and such a big adventure. That’s such an incredible thing to be a part of.
“I want, more than anything, to become someone that Earth would be proud to have represent them on Mars.”
Under current proposals, Mars One’s first settlers are due to land on the Martian surface in 2025.
The programme has attracted some controversy over plans to finance the expedition through a reality TV show from the colony, and has been dubbed as ‘foolish’ and unrealistic by many.