One-way ticket to the red planet, anyone?


If you want to be considered for one of the most interesting job vacancies in the world, you’d better make haste: you have only until Saturday 31 August to become one of Mars’ first four inhabitants.

Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit organisation, aims to have the first human settlement established on Mars by 2023. All it needs now is four volunteers to pack their bags and travel to the red planet – and you can be one of them.

But be warned: you’re getting a one-way ticket – not a return passage. The first four crew members will travel for 210 days before arriving on Mars where – for the rest of their lives – they’ll develop a colony that in time will hopefully expand as more earthlings join them as men and women of Mars.

Marieke Wagensveld, Mars One’s communication specialist, confirmed to YOU that applications close on Saturday – and there’s no chance of a postponement. She doesn’t know how many South Africans have applied but said 165 000 applications were received from 140 countries since April this year – 23 per cent of them from America, the country that’s shown the most interest so far.

A handful of South Africans have applied directly to Mars One’s website, where people worldwide can also vote for their favourites. Currently three people ? Richard, Dario and Hester ? are attracting the most attention.

“My greatest fear is accomplishing nothing that will be remembered, which is why I’m here,” 19-year-old Richard writes on his profile.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes for my lifelong dream to become a reality,” says 18-year-old Dario.

And if you think you’re too old, take a leaf from the book of Hester (65), who says, “I’m looking for a new challenge to make the next phase of my life fulfilling.”

Anyone over 18 who’s willing to learn – and sacrifice their life on Earth for a project – can apply. Comprehensive training will be provided.

–Christiaan Boonzaier

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