Woodbury resident, Jackson Kisling, 38, is one step closer to his dream. He is one of 663 semifinalists from all over the world to be selected for an expedition to Mars. The mission will be led by Mars One, a Netherlands-based not-for-profit organization that seeks to establish the first, permanent colony on the Red Planet. The selling point? It’s a one-way ticket.
Bas Lansdorp, the founder of Mars One, hopes to launch off as early as 2024. Every year, the organization will send four people to Mars – two men and two women every two years in order to eventually establish a permanent human settlement on the planet. To prepare for the launch, the selected individuals must go through eight years of training, which will condition them to live in confined quarters for the 7-8 month long flight.
Colonists will also live in solar powered, and oxygen producing settlements – each 150-square-foot in size. Inflatable compartments that function as bedrooms, working areas, and even a plant production facility would ultimately allow colonists to lead typical lives – at least, for the most part.
One difference is that “martian” colonists will have to conduct routine maintenance checks of the all the equipment while donning space suits as a result of the levels of radiation and oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere. In the process, they will learn some valuable, new skills – how to cultivate crops, how to address medical issues, and how to perform physical and electrical repairs to their settlements.
For these reasons, ideal candidates must be in good physical and mental health, at least 18 years old, intelligent, creative and adaptable. The process to apply cost $35 and launched back in 2012. Kisling, who submitted a video with his application, was one of the over 200,000 eager applicants.
As a semifinalist, Kisling now has to pass an interview before going on to participate in a series of group challenges, and a final selection round, where he must demonstrate his team-work ethic and his ability to live in harsh living conditions. These challenges will be aired on the Internet and television.
Kisling hopes to give any scientists and doctors a run for their money by representing himself as an artist. He also has background in computer science, and believes his personally designed games can be a source of entertainment for the Mars colony.