Kerala girl shortlisted for one-way Mars trip

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A 19 year old girl, Shradha Prasad from Kerela has qualified for the final round of selection for the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

She is the lone candidate based in India to be selected by Netherland-based Mars-One for the fourth round of the astronaut selection process, the organization announced on Monday. Three other Indians have been selected, of which two are based in the US and one in Dubai.

This mechanical engineering student is the only child of her parents and is confident that she will make her way to Mars.
Speaking to TOI, Shradha, a student of Coimbatore’s Amrita University said, “I am keen on settling down on Mars as I have a passion for space sciences and technology. This apart, I also enjoy taking risks and doing something adventurous. The one-way trip to Mars combines the two.”

Asked if she was confident of making it into the 24-member crew that will be selected to go to Mars, she replied: “After my success in the third round, my confidence has strengthened. I came to know on February 13 that I had passed. I was ecstatic. But we were not allowed to disclose it.

“It will be tough leaving my family, friends and all my near and dear ones. Yes, I agree it will not be that easy. But, let me not forget that it will be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Out of 202, 586 applicants, 100 qualified for the third round. Of these, 24 will be chosen by Mars-One for the mission. The Mars 100 round three candidates include 50 men and 50 women with 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania.

The project plans to select 24 people, train them on surviving the harsh conditions of outer space, send them to Mars in groups of four — but not bring them back. The Mars One selection committee will create an international group of four candidates, who would have to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh conditions and work under difficult circumstances.

They would be trained in a replica of the Mars outpost. Up to six groups of four will become full-time employees of the Mars One astronaut corps.

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