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To Mars and without a return ticket: the definitive journey

Not even the craziest movies dared with a scenario as definitive as the one posed by the Mars One mission: Go to Mars not to return. The reason for the absence of a return ticket? Reduce the costs of an adventure which, otherwise, would be virtually unfeasible. We talked with Angel Jané and Pablo Martínez, two Spaniards who have sneaked into the 100 candidates who do not fear the word "never."

"I don't know that I was in my previous lives, but I'm sure an explorer"says Angel Jané. That's how deeply this solar power technician is rooted adventurous spirit, indispensable element to embark on a feat of these characteristics. Also your eagerness of transcendence you have to date it many years ago, because he has always felt that he was born "to make some event of global relevance".

Mars One, a private project carried out by Dutch researcher Bas Lansdorp together with physicist Arno Wielders to establish the first permanent human colony on Mars, It could be the perfect opportunity to answer that call. There, four astronauts chosen from more than 200,000 candidates Non-professionals from all over the world, who will add another four every two years to reach the 24 selected, will be dedicated to "take care of hydroponic crops, go out to collect samples, perform maintenance and experiments and, above all, enjoy a very, very special feeling every time you look at the horizon and say: "I want to see what's behind, because nobody has seen it yet. "

The latter is told by Pablo Martínez, the other Spanish finalist. The Bachelor of Physics with a PhD in Electrochemistry, science and technology believes that the hardest part will be the trip, "six months stuck in a bus with three other people, with little hygiene and no privacy. "However, nothing compared to what moves him, which, as in the case of Jané, is also an ancient and profound feeling: "I have always believed that the future of humanity is" out there ", and I want to help it happen. This project could be the door to fulfill most of my dreams, and what I have always wanted to do with my life, "he says.

In 'The Martian' they also grew their own food © D. R.

"Dream" is a word that Jané does not stop saying. In fact, if elected, this "astronaut by surprise" He would leave his wife and a daughter who is six years old on the planet Earth. "I don't see anything negative in chasing dreams; humanity needs to values ​​beyond wanting to be soccer players, pop stars or bankers. Those brave explorers will cross the last frontier of the human being, space, and will have the possibility of, thanks to the media attention of millions of young people, instill in them lacking interests in our time, "Jané tells us optimistically.

"Many will want to be engineers, astrobiologists or space botanists, and they will encourage new forms of society and see life that will go a lot beyond being consumer subjects and debtors of financial entities. My daughter, when she is a mature person, like me, will pursue her dreams with those values ​​that I instilled in her as a father, and if I get her to be a person who questions everything and I can look to the stars to marvel at the vastness to which we belong, I will have achieved my work as a parent, "he continues.

However, despite being so clear, the coach does not doubt that the biggest challenge he will face on Mars will be "lack of hugs" of your loved ones. "It's something for which no one ever prepared before, although it is comparable to the experience of the navigators of the 16th century or the Arctic explorers. They marched without a certain destiny, and without knowing the existence of a return"In fact, when we ask him which movie he would think will reflect his mission, he answers without hesitation that Interstellar, "for the theme of fatherhood."

Exploring the Universe is a solitary affair © D. R.

Martinez, meanwhile, would not leave direct family, but having children in the future would make him rethink his participation in the project. Also, if I found someone to share their existence with "it would be with the cards on the table about what I want my future to be, and we would accompany each other temporarily on the path of life"However, he does not have so much respect for loneliness, as he tells us, he has already spent seasons in incommunicado places and with little - or no - contact with the rest of the world.

To replicate these insulating circumstances, Jané tells us that "he is creating a replica of the Martian settlement here on Earth, in a location not yet determined. "And he continues:" This will be the place of study, training and preparation of future astronauts Martians, in which we will carry out group challenges and will test our psychological capacities under various situations of tension and stress. "

However, until that moment, which will take place in September, these two budding cosmonauts they have not changed their life in any substantial aspect, Except the media. Martínez does confess that he reads a lot about similar experiences, which will undoubtedly help him overcome the next stages: "As part of the second phase of the selection process we had a theoretical exam on all aspects of the planet Mars. They appeared the more than 40 missions carried out until the present time, all the geological stages of the planet for 4500 million years, the different technical aspects of the mission… We had to study a lot with the handicap of English, official language for the project, ”he says Jané

Martínez imagines part of his mission as 'Gravity' © D. R.

In spite of everything, for the Doctor in Electrochemistry, the most complicated so far have been the questions related to moments in your personal history that you prefer "not to remember". Theoretical knowledge seems to be left over, or that is noticed when we ask for the controversy that Mars One has raised between several academic sectors, receiving criticism from a scientist who enrolled in the program and assured that the candidates passed the tests according to the money they contributed, as well as a group of MIT students, who predicted that, with current technology - and Mars One says that it is not necessary to develop any new ones to carry out the trip - the astronauts would die in 68 days.

"The Roche case and the MIT article are more than bad journalistic work that of valid criticisms. In the first, it was enough to go to the page of the community of Mars One, and see how many of those who had more 'points' (and, therefore, more contributed) they had not passed the cut to realize that Mr. Roche was lying. I am also the living example that he was not true, because I am sure there are countless candidates who have contributed much more than the 20 euros that I have put, and they are in a much better economic situation - when I entered the program I was unemployed - "Martínez explains.

In fact, the issue of money has always been controversial in Mars OneWell, at the beginning, the idea was that to cover the 6,000 million dollars which will cost to take the first four travelers, plus the other 4,000 for each manned mission, there would be a reality show with the selection process. Of course, Roche also found this too superficial for such a large mission. Anyway, The program was finally ruled out after not reaching a deal with Endemol (producer of Big Brother) and, instead, is preparing a documentary film.

Things that happen when you live on Mars: you control the ship in slippers © D. R.

Regarding the MIT article, the Doctor tells us that was never accepted as such due to his insolvency, so that he stayed in "pre-article", and, furthermore, he assured that he was based on assumptions, "Although these were science-based."

The technician, meanwhile, is not too worried about these dimes and diretes: "I love the controversy, and it is something plausible in a project like this, especially if we take into account that, today, there are still conspiracy theories that we never went to the Mona ". He prefers to devote his energies to preparing un book, which will be published in a few days, and that is composed of a small autobiography "in which I narrate my particular childhood", a review of the different missions that will end up on Mars, a journey through the history of space travel, a review of the dangers and risks" of this human odyssey that we will soon live "-as well as the solutions that are being developed-, ethical issues arising from "being a future interplanetary species" and even "a little novel about the daily life of a Martian colony."

"The cosmos is a character forger, because it shows us in its immensity How insignificant we can be. I think the human being needs a little humility, since the Earth does not spin for us, nor does the Sun illuminate for our pleasure. But at the same time, I consider that, like all the elements that form us, from the iron of our blood to the calcium of our bones, they emerged millions of years ago in explosions of dying stars, really We are the same universe that became aware of itself. Definitely, we are gods trapped in a body and a planet, and we must look up to find our origin and, above all, our destiny as a species"concludes Jané.

This will be the settlement on Mars of the Mars One mission © Mars One

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