Photo by Yan Pekar
I’ve always been a bit different. I always wanted to fly, and as soon as I was old enough I took flying lessons. Whenever I can, I do parachute jumps. But it has never been enough. I’ve always had the curiosity to travel into space and see the Earth from another perspective, where there are no borders, just sea and land. It’s something spiritual.
When I heard about the Mars One mission, I didn’t have to think twice. I signed up straight away, although I didn’t think that I had a real chance of being selected from over 200,000 applicants. Since then I have passed each stage, step-by-step, and it is now down to the final 100 candidates. 24 will embark on the one-way journey to Mars in 2026 with the objective of establishing a permanent human settlement there.
My family are not surprised by my decision. At the beginning it was all a big joke, but as I progressed through the stages, people started to take it more seriously. I have their full support, although if that day comes, it will, of course, be very difficult.
I’ll miss the simple things—the wind on my face, the mountains, the sea, flora and fauna. And my daughter, of course. I will miss her the most. She is six years old and she’s very bright. By 2026, she will be almost 18, and I hope to give her the freedom to dream and develop her own ideas and independence. It doesn’t matter if I am on Earth, or on another planet, my love for my daughter will remain the same. But it is a long way off and it is all still hypothetical. If I had had to go now, I wouldn’t have signed up.
It will be the start of a new era for me. My destiny. The chosen 24—12 women and 12 men from all walks of life—will spend the next decade studying. They will become trained doctors, engineers, biologists and astronauts. And they’ll be paid to do it. So even if the mission never leaves earth, I will have a pretty good CV!
Mars holds a lot of secrets. We will be there to investigate, look for life and create a new society, a perfect society. I think it is an essential next step for our survival as a species, not to mention scientific and philosophical reasonings. The human settlement will begin with 24, and will grow bit by bit, with new people and materials arriving every two years. Technology is essential, of course, but Mars has the natural resources needed to create living conditions.
I am not ruling out a return to Earth. I understand that this initial journey is a one-way ticket, but it’s just a question of being able to fabricate fuel once on Mars, and that’s easy! The technology exists. Money is the only reason we are not already on Mars. The moment will arrive, maybe 40 years from now, when the colony will be self-sufficient and won’t need anything from Earth. It will have its own plants and construction methods. But, of course, life will exist inside a dome.
The mission will raise all sorts of fundamental ethical and moral debates. My hope is that through raising these issues and striving to create a perfect society, people will have the courage to change things on Earth too. Many concepts and ideologies will be shaken up. We are a society in decline, enslaved by work and money, and we need to do something to open our eyes.
If I could take one song, it would be ‘Rocketman’. One book, The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Before I leave Earth, I would like to travel, to see everything. Maybe I would like to have another child, although I would have to do it soon. And I would like to learn about archaeology—I thinkitisthekeytoalotof secrets.
The chosen 24 will become known across the world. A documentary-style reality TV programme is under discussion. Becoming a celebrity is not my objective, I see it as collateral damage. But it will present the unique opportunity to project a message. I have always felt that I was put on this earth to do something special and I want this adventure to inspire young people to follow their dreams, no matter what. If we are capable of going to Mars, then anybody can achieve their dream.
Angel is currently writing a book, ‘Rumbo a Marte’, that looks at all the dilemmas and issues that the mission to Mars raises.