3 Indians, one hope: One-way ticket to Mars


mars1Call it India’s Mars Moment, if you like. After the headline-hogging India’s Mars mission, three young Indians are hoping to get a one-way ticket and pitch their tent on the mysterious Red Planet.

Leaving behind all the earthly worries and tensions, 100 amateur astronauts are betting on a lifetime adventure on the Red Planet. Out of 100 hopefuls, only 24 will be selected by the Mars One project, run by the Netherland-based not-for-profit foundation. They will live and die on Mars, literally.

The Mars One project aims to put the first humans on the Red Planet by 2024, and set up the first colony on Mars by sending them in groups of four in every two years.

The cost of putting the first four on Mars is estimated to be $6 billion, and the first mission is planned in 2018.

If the three Indians short-listed make the grade, it will be another trophy for India, coming as it does after the ISRO’s successful launch of the Mangalyaan on Mars in September 2014, making India the first country to be successful in its maiden Mars mission.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while congratulating the brilliant space scientists, has said famously that the cost of launching the Mangalyaan on Mars was less than it cost to make Hollywood movie Gravity. The entire cost of the mission was estimated around $74 million, while Gravity costs about $100 million.

mars2For the trio of Indians, it’s clearly their high moment. After facing a tough competition from over 200,568 applicants, they are now ready to fight the final 100 and take on the adventure to leave the earth forever. The first 100 consists of 39 from the America, 31 from Europe, 7 from Africa, 7 from Oceania, 3 from India and 13 from other Asian countries.

Two out of the three Indians are women, and include the 19-year-old Shradha Prasad from Bangalore. “I am confident of making it to the final. Yes it is tough decision but if selected there is no way to go back,” she said excitedly. The 29-year-old  from Delhi, presently working in Dubai, is also jubilant at her one-way ticket to Mars. “I applied because I have been adventurous since childhood and like to take on challenges. What can be a better challenge than this? We all take a two way ticket. To get a one way ticket to Mars will be a lifetime experience,” she said. The 29-year-old Taranjeet Singh Bhatia lives in Orlando.

If they make it to the final, they will not have to pay a penny, but instead will receive salary from Mars One. The final round of the selection process will be aired on television and internet across the globe.

“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Mars One CEO, Bas Lansdrop.