Mars settlement: Science prof among 75 Canadians still in running

You could say Claude Gauthier's retirement plans are out of this world. The science professor at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick is one of the 75 Canadians to make it through the first cut of people hoping to be part of the first human settlement on Mars.

Claude Gauthier among 1,058 being considered, 200,000 applied for settlement plan on red planet

Science professor Claude Gauthier at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick is one of 75 Canadians to make it through the first cut of people hoping to take part in a special project to get human beings living on Mars.

The goal of the Mars One Project is to build a human settlement on Mars, starting in 2025. Those selected get a one-way trip to the so-called Red Planet, the fourth planet from the sun that is named after the Roman God of War.

University of Moncton professor Claude Gauthier is the only New Brunswicker among the 75 Canadians being considered to be part of the Mars One project. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)
More than 200,000 people around the world applied to take part in the project by Mars One, a non-profit organization that plans to send humans on the one-way trip. The organization began taking applications in April.

The list has now been cut to 1,058 would-be Martians.

Gauthier is one of them.

"When they went to the moon in 1969, I was 16 years old. I was sad because it was not me," says Gauthier.

Gauthier would be in his early seventies in 2025.  

One could say his retirement dreams are out of this world.

Following his dream

A former candidate for astronaut training, Gauthier says he's still trying to convince his family to accept his wish.

"Let me go and live my life," he says. "They begin to understand, `Let him go and live his dream ....'"

Gauthier says it's inspiring to him and others to even be considered for the project.

"I think it's opened the mind of people to space and adventure, science, math," he says. "I think it's good, especially for very young people, less than 10 years old.

"They are very wide-open eyes when we talk about Mars – one way only! – it's amazing."

He hopes to make history as one of the first humans to live on Mars.

"I would like that my daughter will be able to say her dad is a Martian," he says.

Gauthier must have a rigorous physical examination completed and submitted by March. He'll know by April whether he's made the next cut.

The final crew will be announced in 2015.

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