MARS TRIP SHOT FOR POSTERITY
AGerman-born Australian, shortlisted for a proposed settlement mission to Mars, says the project could be an important step in the history of humankind.
Gunnar Prehl, a 41-year-old cook from Cairns, was included in the list of 100 candidates for the project by the Dutch nonprofit company Mars One.
Five other Australians also made the list.
They were among 200,000 applicants aiming to be among the 24-40 people sent to live on the Red Planet in 10 years’ time.
“It could be the biggest adventure humans have ever done; it could be the most inspiring thing I can imagine,” Prehl says. “It’s exciting to leave all the mistakes we’ve done on Earth, leave them on Earth and bring all the good ideas to Mars.”
Prehl says his parents in Germany are not too pleased about his participation.
“I’m really very aware of what I would leave behind and the most important thing is my girlfriend ... it would break my heart to leave her,” he says. “But Mars One could be a really, really important step in the history of humankind.”
The mission is merely a proposal as a suitable spaceship has yet to be designed.
Global aerospace company Lockheed Martin, the biggest US government contractor, is listed as an interested party on Mars One’s website.
An official for Lockheed Martin says they have undertaken preliminary consultations with Mars One but only to develop a concept for an unmanned mission.
“Mars One contracted with Lockheed Martin to develop a mission concept study for their uncrewed 2018 Mars lander spacecraft,” the Lockheed Martin official writes.
“The lander concept is based on a flight-proven, affordable spacecraft design we created for the successful NASA Phoenix Mars Lander mission.
“We have not been asked to study any more of the Mars One architecture beyond the 2018 lander.”
Gunnar Prehl is eyeing a one-way trip to Mars.