Six Canadians are still in the running to take a one-way trip to Mars starting in 2024 as part of the Mars One project.
The project, which aims to start the first human colony on the Red Planet, unveiled a list of 100 semi-finalists for the mission on Monday. The candidates from around the world, half of them men and half of them women, include Canadians:
- Daniel Benjamin Criger, 28, physics PhD candidate from Waterloo, Ont.
- Karen Louise Cumming, 53, TV journalist from Burlington, Ont.
- Reginald George Foulds, 60, former helicopter pilot from Toronto.
- Joanna Marjorie Hindle, 42, high school teacher from Whistler, B.C.
- Andreea Lavinia Radulescu, 33, an IT analyst from Toronto.
- Susan Higashio Weinreich, 42, a Scout leader from Vancouver.
They have a chance to be among up to 24 people that Mars One plans to launch to Mars in groups of four every two years starting in 2024.
One additional Canadian, Jamie Scott Berdahl, 29, of Whitehorse, made the short list, but resigned from the project when he was notified.
The remaining semi-finalists will take part in "group challenges" designed to demonstrate their ability to work as part of a team in an environment like Mars. They'll also face another interview before the list of candidates is whittled down again for the final selection round.
The Mars One project is the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Landorp. The $6-billion project will use existing technology and is being funded through sponsors and private investors. However, some scientists have expressed concern that existing technology is not yet up to the task of supporting life on Mars and the project is not sustainable.
Initially, more than 200,000 people from 100 countries applied to Mars One, including 8,243 Canadians. In December 2013, the organization picked 1,058 candidates to enter the second round of its selection process.
One-third of those potential Mars settlers were eliminated after a review of their personal and health profiles, leaving 705 candidates, including 54 Canadians.
Vancouver grandmother makes the shortlist
The six Canadian semi-finalists have shared their motivations for taking part in the project in video profiles on the Mars One website.
Scout leader Susan Higashio Weinreich, said now that her daughter is an adult with a family of her own, she's ready for her next adventure.
"Ever since I was a small child, I have dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I am filled with wonder about what is out there in space, and I long to find out," Weinreich said in her short biography on the Mars One website.
She also jokes about her desire to get her space exploration badge and her tube of galactic glue in her lighthearted video.