Mars One Replaces Astronauts Who Have Dropped Out
Mars One has been busy since we last checked in with them. Six new astronauts have been chosen to replace candidates who have dropped out. And, Co Cork-based engineer Steve Menaa has been chosen to replace Dublin’s Dr Joseph Roche, who lost faith in the project.
Steve Menaa is currently working in the computer science industry. He says, “I love to explore new places and I am very excited about this project to colonise Mars. It would be an honour to take part in the most ambitious mission of mankind. I love computers and science, my favourite one is astronomy. As far back as I can remember, going to space and exploring other planets is my biggest dream.”
While this is great news for Menaa, it might not be for his relatives back here on planet Earth. Menaa has a 14 year-old son, who lives with his mother in France. Menaa says missing his son will be the biggest mental obstacle to overcome, because he and his son are close. The journey to Mars is a one-way ticket, and communication won’t be possible. So it is an honourable self-sacrifice? Or a selfish pursuit? It’s hard to fathom.
Perhaps Menaa won’t make the final cut, as he faces some testing for suitability. According to Dr. Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer of Mars One, “The Mars One selection committee will set up group dynamic challenges and provide study materials related to the challenges,” explains Dr. Kraft. “This allows us to observe how the candidates work in a group setting.”
Following the challenges, the Mars100 will be screened to 40 candidates that will enter the next selection phase: isolation. Candidates will spend nine days in an isolation unit. “It is very important that the candidates are observed closely to examine how they act in situations of prolonged close contact with one another,” says Dr. Kraft. “During the journey to Mars and upon arrival, they will spend 24 hours a day with each other. It is during this time that the simplest things may start to become bothersome. It takes a specific team dynamic to be able to handle this and it is our job to find those that are best suited for this challenge.”
After the isolation phase, 30 candidates are chosen to partake in a Mars Settler Suitability Interview (MSSI). The MSSI measures suitability for long duration Space missions and Mars settlement and will last approximately 4 hours. 24 candidates are selected after the interview and will be offered full-time employment with Mars One. The next selection rounds will take place in September, 2016.
The Six New Candidates
The following candidates have been added to the Mars100, giving them a chance to be among the first humans on Mars:
- Dr. Bhupendra Singh, India
- Mr. Yuri Rafael López Farias, Uruguay
- Mr. Steve Menaa, Ireland
- Mr. Hampton Black, Florida, USA
- Mr. Robert Daniel Golden, Massachusetts, USA
- Ms. Kellie Gerardi, New York, USA
With these new Round Three Candidates, 50 men and 50 women will continue on to the next round of selection.
The candidates represent countries from all around the world, including 42 from the Americas, 28 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania.
Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation that will establish permanent human life on Mars. Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies. Mars One’s mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide. The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations. It is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars.
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