When Mars One announced their intention to put the first human colony on Mars, nearly 2,000 Canadians threw their names into the hat. Now, after the first round of cuts, just 75 remain in the running for a one-way ticket to the Red Planet.
For some of the applicants who have moved on to the next round, going into space has been a life-long dream, regardless of their age.
Take 19-year-old Audrey Roy, from Saint-Ephrem-de-Beauce, Quebec, who was one of the few selected to allow their name to go public.
"I've always said that if such a trip would happen in my lifetime, I would do everything it takes to be part of it," Roy told the Canadian Press. She went on to say that there was some sadness, on both sides, when she told her friends and family, because if she's selected, they'll never see each other again.
"It breaks my heart to actually leave them, but I've had a talk with them and they understand it is my dream since I was young," she said in the interview.
For others, their dream has been on hold substantially longer.
Claude Gauthier, a 60-year-old math and physics professor at the University of Moncton, remembers watching the first moon landing with a hint of sadness.
"When they went to the moon in 1969, I was 16 years old," he told CBC News. "I was sad because it was not me."
According to the Canadian Press, Gauthier has already tried three times to become an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, but was turned down all three times. He's not sure why he made the cut for the Mars One mission. However, in his interview with CBC News, he said that it's inspiring, to both him and others, that he was chosen.
"I think it's opened the mind of people to space and adventure, science, math," he said in the interview. "I think it's good, especially for very young people, less than 10 years old. They are very wide-open eyes when we talk about Mars — one way only! — it's amazing."
For others who have been chosen, the news came as bitter-sweet.
Both Christy Foley, a 32-year-old government employee in Edmonton, and her 33-year-old husband submitted their applications. She was chosen. He was not.
"We were both incredibly surprised about my making it — not so much of him not making it," she told the Canadian Press. "We both had hopes, but there was no expectation there, so it was quite incredible to get the email."
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Another round of cuts is scheduled for April, after those selected go through a thorough medical examination, and this will be followed by a third cut later this year. A final cut to select those who will begin training in 2015 will bring the number of candidates down to just 24 from the original 200,000.
For everyone who will be making the trip, and their families, it's a tough choice that they have ahead of them. Given the limitations on technology, anyone who goes to Mars won't be coming back, and the one-way nature of the trip has some seeing it a suicide mission.
Alex Marion, a 26-year-old from Surrey, B.C. who also made it into the next round, isn't worried though.
"There's absolutely no concern for me that they can get us there safely and they're not going to send us unless the colony is ready to go," he told the Canadian Press. "I have absolutely no concerns that it's a suicide mission at all."
For Stephen Fenech, a 45-year-old from Toronto who's looking to expand his Earthly travels into space, he sees it in a rather pragmatic way.
"If it means my death at the end, so be it," he said to the Canadian Press. "I'm going to die anyway [and] it'll be a more interesting way to go — that's for sure."
(Image courtesy: Mars One/YouTube)
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