PMB local ready to fly to Mars

2014-08-08 00:00

IS Adriana Marais bound for Mars? She certainly hopes so.

Marais is one of 705 people around the world short-listed as possible candidates for the 24-person Mars One project, which intends establishing a permanent human colony on Mars by 2025. Mars One project leader, Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, first announced plans for the Mars One mission in May 2012.

Marais was one of around 200 000 people who showed interest in being part of the project via the Mars One website. From these 1 058 were selected in 2013 and earlier this year the number was whittled down to 705 candidates. Marais is one of them.

“I will find out at the end next year whether I’m one of the 24 people selected for full-time training for the mission,” said Marais.

Educated at Scottsville Primary and St John’s Diocesan School for Girls in Pietermaritzburg, Marais is currently doing her doctorate in quantum bio­logy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Chemistry and Physics.

She said her research had led her to look at the question, “What is life? … This involves looking at molecular life. I can’t wait to reach Mars to pursue my research. My research has led me full circle back to wanting to be an astronaut again.”

Marais said the one-way journey was not a problem. “I am fully committed to going and I’m sure part of the training will be about how to deal with not coming back,” said Marais. “But at the same time technological advances might see them able to bring us back in the future.”


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