The Cosmos

‘Going Back Is Not An Option’: What Makes A Person Want To Leave Everyone They Know And Fly To Mars?

Meet the people who want to to abandon Earth for the Mars One mission

Many of us humans have an inbuilt desire for adventure. Quite how far that spirit stretches differs from person to person. For some, making the jump from Hot to Extra Hot at spicy chicken purveyors Nando’s is as extreme as it gets. For others, nothing but backpacking in the Arctic cuts the adventure mustard.

Alas, there’s only so much globe to go around, and eventually, we’ll have explored it all. Moreover, when we do, we’ll no doubt ruin it by opening 24hour Photo Developing labs, setting up £1 Falafel stalls, and a Polish girl will turn up with her two yappy dogs.

So, when the globe has given all it has to give, where do adventures set their sights? Mars, of course!

“If I die on mars? That would be great!”

That’s exactly what what happened when, in 2012, Mars One announced they were running a one way trip to the Red Planet in a bit to start colonising it. Initially, 200,000 people put their name in the hat to make the life changing journey. These have been whittled down to a (long) shortlist of 660 – six short of an editorially friendly 666.

UK newspaper The Guardian caught up with some of the people who applied for the galactic voyage, too see why they made the decision to go on the four-man trip that would end in guaranteed death.

The compelling short film is an interesting insight into the minds of people who want to go on the most exciting adventure man has ever seen thus far.

Take Ryan, a UK based mathematician, who can recite Pi to 90 digits, and has never had sex with somebody other than himself. And then it’s only to reduce his chances of contracting colon cancer.

But this also drives his ambition to reach the stars. His decision to not have a family means that going to Mars will be his alternative way of leaving a mark on the planet, much like how he currently leaves a cancer busting mark on his bedsheets.

There’s also Dina, an Iraqi born American, who likens the possibility of going to Mars to leaving the oppressive regime of Iraq behind for her new found home in America. Presumably, if she knew, her mummy would be yelling no, but her father would tell her to go.

“going back is not an option. Ever.”

Alternatively, Jerimias from from Mozambique cited being dissatisfied with how life is on Earth, and believes life on mars would be a chance to start afresh.

Of course, going on a mission to Mars like this is very unusual, and the factors that compel a person to go are greater than just a few simple sounds bites.

It’s a mindset that’s equally as selfless as it is selfish. It’s something that calls for the four that go to abandon everybody they’ve ever know. And, of course, it also forces them to ask everybody they’ve ever known to abandon them as well.

One thing’s for sure, it’s certainly an adventure and, as such, we salute those forge ahead where others are bound to follow.

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