LIFE ON MARS
Experts say the mission to MARS will end in TRAGEDY, but Ritika says, ‘We have to DIE one day, so do something BRILLIANT before’
Why two explorers are swapping Dubai for the red planet
The voice was crackly, the words distorting slightly as they travelled through space. But they were clear enough and the whole world listened: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Neil Armstrong later insisted he said a man but the article got lost in static. Either way, it was an incredible off-the-cuff speech as he became the first man to set foot on the moon back in 1969.
Ritika Singh has no doubt begun practising exactly what she will say when she lands on Mars in 2024. The seven-month journey is rather different from the American astronaut’s though – it’s a one-way ticket to colonise the Red Planet and is already said to be doomed to end in death or disaster.
But Ritika, a logistics manager with the Al-Futtaim Group in Festival City, Dubai, is determined to be one of the four-strong team sent to set foot on Mars. She is one of two people from Dubai shortlisted for the Dh15 billion project – from an initial 200,000 applicants around the globe – and will undergo eight years of intensive training to vie for that final place on board the rocket. Experts have said numerous things could go wrong, including the spaceship exploding at take off, but Ritika, from Dubai Investment Park, simply shrugs. ‘My view,’ she says, ‘is that you have to die one day, so do something brilliant before.’
As an eternal optimist I’m convinced technology will have advanced so much by lift-off that the risks will be minimal and a woman from the City of Gold will head off to start life on Mars. The things she will miss? Her family, of course, which is why I could never be that pioneering adventurer. Read all about Ritika’s mission to Mars on page 68 and let me know what you would take with you to the Red Planet. Until next week,