WSVN — When most of us look up at the night sky, we see a place out of our reach. But when Patrick Ford star gazes, he sees his future home.

Patrick Ford: “I want to go to Mars.”

The 20-year-old FIU physics student has signed up for a project called Mars One. The brainchild of a Dutch based organization. The plan? By 2022 send the first group of four humans hurtling into space destination the red planet. By 2023, land and set up the first human colony on Mars.

Patrick Ford: “I’m scared. It is scary thinking about it.”

It’s estimated to initially cost $6 billion. Mars One is betting it can raise the money largely through sponsorship deals and selling the TV rights to broadcast the mission globally.

Mars One Introduction Video: “The rovers will prepare the settlement for human arrival.”

The trip to get there is not for the faint of heart. Seven months plus tight quarters, no showers. Ford says he’s ready.

Patrick Ford: “What is it like to, you know, live day to day in one third gravity or you know, being stuck in a module for a day doing science or putting on a space suit when you want to go outside.”

And this is a one-way ticket. Those chosen will be leaving those on earth behind forever.

Patrick Ford: “I feel like in the grand scheme of things you know, you sometimes have to make sacrifices for being a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Mars One says more than 78,000 people from 120 different countries had applied for the program as of May.

Patrick Ford: “They’re looking for people who can work well with others. They’re looking for people who can make decisions.

They’re also looking to put on what the Mars One website calls, “The biggest media spectacle in history.”

From selection to training, launch and landing, it would be risky reality TV like none this planet has ever seen.

At the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science, there’s a Mars rover simulator ride, and they think talk of the real thing is a good thing.

Kim Cavendish: “It’s an exciting project, yes, very ambitious, but it reflects something that I personally think is so important, that mankind needs to stretch, and grow, and explore away from what we know today.”

But it will be years before we know -whether this out-of-this-world vision ever gets off the ground. But for now…

Mars One Video: “The search for life on Mars, begins, on Earth.”

There is an application fee that varies by country. Here in the U.S. it’s $38. And there’s still time for “wannabe” astronauts Aug. 31 is the deadline for Mars One applications.



PATRICK FORD:!/patrickthemartian

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