rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » 'We will eventually be a multi-planetary species'

'We will eventually be a multi-planetary species'

Last updated on: January 06, 2014 13:23 IST

'We will eventually be a multi-planetary species'

     Next

Next

Amulya Nidhi Rastogi, a 20-year-old student of engineering in Gurgaon, is one of 1,058 applicants shortlisted from over 200,000 across the world to be part of an ambitious one-way trip to Mars.

Organised by Dutch non-profit organisation, Mars One, the first "settlers" are scheduled to leave in 2024 and 62 people from India have made it to Round 2. In an interview with Indulekha Aravind, Rastogi explains what lies ahead, and why the idea of a one-way trip to the red planet does not worry him. Edited excerpts:

What made you apply to Mars One?

I was surfing YouTube back in 2012 when I came across a video with Bas Landsdorp, the CEO of Mars One, giving a presentation about the project. I had always been interested in life beyond earth so I kept myself updated about the project and when they invited applications in April 2013, I applied the very next day, without a second thought.

What happens next?

There will be a personal interview with the regional committee in our country. We will be getting details about that on January 6. There are two more rounds after that. Twenty to 40 people will proceed to round three, when our mental and physical capabilities will be assessed against those of peers from our country. Round four will be similar, except that we'll be competing with international applicants. Round two and three will be this year, while four will be in 2015.

And all this will be televised?

Round Four will be broadcast and Round Three may or may not be.

Do you have to pay anything to be part of Mars One?

Only the initial application fee ($7), the rest of the revenue is supposed to be generated from broadcasting the reality show.

Click on NEXT to read further...




     Next

'We will eventually be a multi-planetary species'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

What is your family's reaction, now that you're closer to leaving?

Now they are more supportive than ever. When I applied, I hadn't asked them and I just showed them my application when it was up on the website.

They thought I was kidding then but now they know that it's progressing. They still have qualms about the project but none about my candidacy. Their worry (about the trip being one-way) shows on their face but for now, they're supportive.

You are also organising a "Million Martian Meeting" in India?

Yes, it's a tradition among applicants to organise it in their country and this will be the fourth in the world. The others were in the US, Germany and Russia.

It's basically a platform for applicants to get to know each other and to get information about the project. We also have speakers like Mylswamy Annadurai, the programme director of Chandrayaan I and II, and Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society, an American space advocacy organisation.

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Amulya Nidhi Rastogi
Photographs: Amulya Nidhi Rastogi

Prev     Next

'We will eventually be a multi-planetary species'

Prev     More
Prev

More

Doesn't the thought that it's a one-way trip bother you?

No. In fact, I applied for it assuming it's one way. If a return mission had been possible, NASA or the European Space Agency would have undertaken it by now.

It's a mission for a permanent settlement, we're not going there just to plant a flag. In my opinion, the moon mission was also partly about showing off because they just planted a flag, conducted some basic experiments and returned. We will eventually become a multi-planetary species so planting a flag and returning does no good.

What do you think of your chances?

I can't really anticipate anything. I was confident even after Round 1. But when I got the email from Mars One, I started shivering for some reason.

When I finally managed to open the mail and read it, I began to cry because this is something that means so much to me.  

Click on MORE to read related feature...




Prev     More
Source: