Two Dubai residents’ dream of setting foot on Mars is fast being realised.
Indian expat, Ritika Singh, and Mikolaj Zielinski, from Poland, are among those who made it to the final round of selection to take the ‘next giant leap for mankind’.
Out of whopping 202,586 applicants, only 100 people were selected by Netherland-based Mars-One for the fourth round of the astronaut selection process, the organisation announced on Monday.
Singh, 29, and Zielinski, 38, were informed last week that they were on the coveted list following the January interview, but were not allowed to disclose it.
In fact, Singh has preferred to keep a low profile on social media, too. "Still in the game," is all she has written.
Mars One wants to put humans on the Red Planet by 2024. (Mars One)
The Delhi girl, who works in Dubai, is an adrenaline junkie and loves taking challenges.
"Going to Mars is something I have dreamt of since age five. Glad to get a chance to accomplish my childhood dream." She is equally passionate about travelling and adapting to new culture and meeting people. Singh’s other interests include travelling and photography.
Polish expat Zielinski is extremely passionate about science and exploration – a reason he signed up for a one-way trip to Mars.
He devotes time studying solar-powered satellites, creating artificial life and pictotechnology.
Singh and Zielinski are among the 50 men and 50 women to successfully pass the second round. The candidates come from all around the world - 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania.
Mars-One is a non-profit organisation based in The Netherlands. It aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by offering a one-way trip to those selected. The current plan envisages crew of four, departing every two years beginning 2024. The first unmanned flight is slated for lift-off in 2018.
The candidates will receive their first round of training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.
"Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges." said Dr. Norbert Kraft, MD, Chief Medical Officer.