A mission to Mars may sound far fetched for some, but not for Cambridge native Karen Cumming.
Cumming is a journalist, and one of the final 100 candidates for the Mars One Mission, an operation with the goal of settling the first human colony on the red planet.
“It resonated with me on so many levels. It appealed to my sense of adventure, it appealed to me as a journalist. The idea that I could be the one who documents this for the rest of humanity here on Earth, telling the story from the inside, I mean, what an amazing opportunity.” said Cumming.
The mission plans to take crews of four every two years to Mars, starting in 2024, with a trip duration of 8 months.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s the story of the century and as a journalist, it would be the assignment of a lifetime to have the privilege to tell the story.” said Cumming.
As for right now, the mission is considered to be a one way trip due to the technological barriers the crew face for a return launch. There is possibility for that to change closer to launch date, pending on technology advances.
“I had to present iron clad reasoning to my Mother, but after that, she became supportive once she realized this mission is what makes me happy. The rest of my family thinks it’s a crazy adventure and wish me all the best.” said Cumming.
While extremely complex, the Mars One Mission is feasible. The science and technology to place humans on Mars exists today. Each component of required equipment for the mission has at least one potential supplier. All funding will be private, no taxpayers money will be used.
“I’m not in the least bit frightened, all I can do is put absolute faith in those spearheading the mission. I know the experts working on this project would never intentionally put us in harms way.” added Cumming.
Mars One is a non-governmental company and suppliers are chosen through a balance of price and quality, not through political or national preferences. It’s goal is an international, generational effort to take humanity to another planet.