How I met my first Martian.
Update from Lex (September 11, 2013):
“Mars One has begun screening applicants. The selection committee led by Dr. Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer at Mars One will review the applications over the next several months, and will let all candidates know who goes on to the second round by the end of this year, and interviews will begin next year.”
Let’s face it, most of us have a read-only approach to adventures. We love them to the point of obsession and we get quite a kick from watching them unfold before our eyes; but we seldom step out of this “voyeuristic” role. Adventures, we seem to believe, are best left to others.
As luck would have it, I’ve had the chance to interview one of these elusive “others”. Alex Marion, aka A-Lex on Mars is a fellow Vancouverite and proud Mars One applicant. Forget little green men with bulgy heads. Instead, take a good look at him (the one on the right): this is what Martians might prove to look like one day.
Sorin: Lex, if all goes well, how old will you be when you will be setting foot on Mars?
Lex: Assuming all goes well and I get to be one of the first four to go, I will be 36 when I leave and when I get there.
Sorin: What can you tell me about the screening process? I would imagine psychological profiling, fitness and vocational training as likely candidates.
Lex: Vocational training is actually not going to be a significant factor. Because the first four people will get seven years of training, and the next four another two years, and so on, everything the colonists will need to know will be taught by Mars One trainers. Doctors, engineers, geologists, etc. Candidates will of course have to be physically fit. Part of the second round of applications is providing a medical record showing that you are in excellent health. The psychological aspect I think is the most important thing, and Mars One has stressed that as well. The colonists will be spending the remainder of their lives in very close quarters with very few people, and will have no opportunity to go for a walk or to the mall to let off steam. It is imperative that everyone who goes understands what that means for them as individuals. The third round will be testing people’s resolve through various psychological and physical challenges, pushing them to their personal limits, and weeding out those who can’t cut it. It’s survival of the fittest! The final training phase will also be intensive, and it is assumed that even when Mars One has essentially selected you, people will be dropping out. So in addition to the 24 to 40 people training, Mars One plans on having several on a waiting list as back-ups to replace people who drop out or have to be removed. One thing that they haven’t mentioned as part of the screening process, and I think they should, is a criminal record check!
Sorin: Any plans of becoming a daddy on Mars? Speaking of which, do you think gene profiling (not necessarily Gattaca style) will also be part of the screening process?
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