Eight Utahns remain among the 1,058 candidates hoping to be selected for a one-way mission to Mars in 2024. The nonprofit organization Mars One says it plans to fund the $6 billion mission through donations.
SALT LAKE CITY - Ken Sullivan, one of just over 1,000 candidates still being considered for a settlement mission to Mars, says he's willing to make sacrifices for the one-way trip. "I think most people think I'm crazy," Sullivan said. "My wife is probably one of those." Sullivan, of Farmington, Utah says he's willing to leave behind his wife and four young children in order to make his mark in history. As much as people can't understand why I would want to go, I can't understand why they wouldn't want to go. It's an incredible adventure. It makes me feel alive." And so are his hopes, for now. More than 200,000 people worldwide applied when Mars One began calling for volunteers in April 2013. That list has been narrowed down to 1,058 candidates for one of the four final positions. The organization is a nonprofit organization that says it plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2024. Kitty Kane, a Provo, Utah hairstylist, is also hoping for one of the spots. "I always dreamed of living on another planet," Kane said. "I never thought an ordinary civilian could be the first to go to Mars, but that's what's happening. I want to be a part of that." In 2018, Mars One first plans to send an unmanned mission to Mars. The group expects 2024's manned journey to take 210 days. Every two years thereafter, the group says four additional people will be sent to the settlement. Kane, who says her purple hair is "an outward reflection of [her] inner Martian," said the opportunity offered by Mars One "was like love at first sight. It was destiny." And yes, she understands that the adventure is being billed as a one-way trip to the red planet. "The whole process of leaving and never coming back is very difficult," Sullivan said. "But I'm in this all the way. I have no doubt that it will happen. I hope that my children will understand, and I told them to come up to Mars with me when they get older." Sullivan says he'll be able to correspond with his family through email and videoconferencing as his kids grow up. The permanence of a one-way trip from home is nonetheless tough to cope with, he said. With a background in aviation, Sullivan says he is well aware of the risks and difficulties such a mission would entail such as space-flight complications, living for years with the same four people in a structure the size of a two-bedroom apartment. Mars One estimates the price tag for the first manned mission at $6 billion, including hardware, operational and marginal costs. The subsequent mission is estimated to cost $4 billion. For now, the candidates await further selection based on physical and emotional performance in simulations and team exercises that will take place over the next two years, according to a Mars One news release issued at the end of December. 1 580 3308 27 7 3881 14.0 Normal false false false EN-US JA X-NONE %3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D137063%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E