Martian Chronicles 2.0


Carmen Paul is looking forward to the day she becomes a dual citizen. She is already an Earthling in good standing and soon hopes to be a Martian.
Paul, 33, a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, is one of 100 finalists being considered for a one-way trip to the Red Planet launching in 2026 with the goal of establishing the first human colony on another world.
Her husband, Craig Paul, is also under consideration, though there is no guarantee both will be chosen.
Mars One, a Dutch organization, is making plans to establish a human settlement on the fourth planet. Current plans for first shuttle are for a four-person team. Eventually, if all goes well, 24 Earthlings will become Martians. Paul said she hopes to be on that flight and has no problem with it being a one-way journey.
Space exploration has been a longtime obsession, she said.
“I grew up in Florida watching shuttle launches,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed about.”
Martian real estate is cheap, but getting there is not. It is a seventh month flight to boot, even when Earth and Mars are at their closest. Her cozy abode on Mars will be about 1,000 cubic meters and house four.
It is important for the teams to get along with each other, she said, since they will live in close quarters for the rest of their lives.
“(We will have) to quickly work together and solve conflict,” she said.
Paul said she hopes to discover life on Mars.
“It would be one of the greatest discoveries in history,” she said. “Just about everything we do will be one big experiment! Walking, eating, sleeping…heck, going to the bathroom.”
Nouveau Martians will set up a greenhouse to grow crops, she said, and maybe a vat to brew beer. Paul is more of a wine lady, she said, but a pale ale on the Red Planet wouldn’t be too shabby.
What she is really eager to take is her favorite snack.
“I’m still waiting for an answer on how many cases of Doritos we can bring,” she said playfully. “They don’t take up too much space, do they?”
She will also be taking her tablet, a hard drive chock-full of movies and books, pictures of loved ones, her wedding ring set, a pair of sandals, her DSLR camera and, of course, her smartphone.
“While I won’t be able to call from it, I’ll still be able to connect to Wi-Fi and send iMessage or WhatsApp messages.”
There’s free Wi-Fi in outer space, Paul said, so aside from being one of the first humans to potentially habitat Mars, she expects to be one of the first to answer emails and taunt Internet trolls.
Writing a book is also on her to-do list.
“I’m a bit of an amateur novelist and I think Mars would provide awesome fodder for a book.”
Mars tomorrow means hard work today and a focus on training, which involves loads of studying and hitting the gym.
“I studied the entire Mars One website, a bunch of Mars Wikipedia pages, and the interview prep packet they gave us. I’d have to say the thing I’m least prepared for are the media interviews.”
Paul’s background is in electronic systems technology in the Air Force as a technical sergeant.
“I’m hoping that the technical education and teamwork experience will lend me the chutzpah necessary to pull off a huge endeavor like this.”
Mars One has been taunted by some naysayers, but Paul said it is a doable plan.
“Mars One has some pretty impressive brainiacs on its team,” she said.
A former NASA chief technologist and aerospace doctor are among the leaders, she said, along with personnel from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
“I doubt these professionals would do business with an entity if they thought it was just a big scam. If they’re convinced, then I’m convinced.”
Soon skeptics and supporters alike will get a sneak preview of the selection process. Mars One has paired up with Darlow Smithson Productions to document the “most extraordinary and challenging job interviews ever seen.”
Paul said she doesn’t know the full details, but all the same is hesitant about the production.
“I’m not thrilled or excited about it,” she said. “I just hope we’ll be busy enough that the cameras aren’t distracting.”
If selected, cameras may be the least of her worries. She will have to bid farewell to her family. She and Craig have no children, but they do have other terrestrials they love and will miss.
“The separation from loved ones would be teary and emotional,” she said. “I’m hopeful that we’ll be so busy that we won’t have time to be overwhelmingly distraught.”
Her final days on Earth could possibly be full of errands, last-minute preparations and emotional farewells, she said. There may be some Dorito chip munching scheduled, too.
As for her last moments on Mars, Paul said she could only imagine.
“This could go multiple ways,” she said. “One, I could live out a long, productive life and quietly pass away from old age. Two, something disastrous could happen, in which case, everything could be over with very quickly. Three, depending on the speed of progress, there might be a way to come back to Earth to retire.”
Paul said it may be tough to leave Mars.
“It may be as difficult as leaving Earth, especially after calling it home for so long. Not to mention I’d likely end up crippled after spending such a long time in low gravity and then coming back to 100 percent Earth gravity.”
Fear of the unknown is normal, but the unknown has always beckoned true explorers. From 34 million miles away Mars beckons. Paul said she is ready to answer, even if she has to leave behind her family, her planet and her Doritos.


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