Mars One finalist, PMB’s own

2015-06-17 06:00
PHOTOS: nicole john

At the breakfast (from left) Alison Engelbrecht (Women in Business), Adriana Marais and Kevin McShane (Varsity College principal).

PHOTOS: nicole john At the breakfast (from left) Alison Engelbrecht (Women in Business), Adriana Marais and Kevin McShane (Varsity College principal).

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MARS One finalist, Adriana Marais (31), was the guest speaker at a recent Women in Business breakfast at Varsity College.

Marais, a Pietermaritzburg woman who matriculated from St John’s Diocesan College, is in the top 100 people from across the world selected for a one-way trip to begin a life on Mars.

“It’s amazing to have this opportunity and participate in, what I think, is the most ambitious plan ever. The idea that I could be one of the first researchers to live on Mars is something that I would give up life on Earth for,” said Marais.

Marais is one of the five South Africans selected in the Mars One top 100.

She explained that the idea is to take a “slice of society” to Mars in order for them to begin life there. The top 100 consist of different people from scientists to doctors, lawyers and artists.

Not only will humans be going but along with them they will take the ecosystem of the Earth. The weight of the entire mission will be 50 tons which includes, 800 kilograms of food, 3 000 litres of water and 700 kilograms of oxygen.

“Research has been done for many years to understand planet Mars and to determine whether people can inhabit the planet,” she said.

Next year is the final round of the selection process where the 100 will be cut to 24. Thereafter, for the next 10 years, the 24 will undergo training in everything they need to know for the trip, including training on the machinery.

“We need to know everything about the machinery because if there is a problem we need to know how to fix it. There will be a significant delay in communication with the home base on Earth which will vary depending on how close Mars is to Earth,” she said.

It will cost $6 billion to get the first four people to Mars. There will be a global reality television show to help with the funding of the mission.

“We’ve reached a fascinating point in our scientific history. The fact that this is even a possibility means that there has been significant research done by the top scientists in the world to show that this can happen,” said Marais.

She said that after being selected she started changing the way she lives on Earth and appreciating life more.

“My parents have been completely supportive, although they will miss me,” said Marias.

Speaking on the common question she is faced with asking about why she would take part in such a “crazy” mission she said: “Once you have a critical mass of crazy people, they can make something happen.

“I feel lucky to be alive now at this point in scientific history.”

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