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Former Jackpine Flats resident ready to rocket to Mars

Marina Miral could be one of the first people to go to, and live on, Mars.  - CONTRIBUTED
Marina Miral could be one of the first people to go to, and live on, Mars.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED

A WOMAN who spent her teen years here is one step closer to her dream of going into space after making the shortlist for Mars One, which intends to send people to live on the red planet starting in 2024.

Marina Miral learned she was one of the shortlisted applicants Dec. 30 and is looking ahead to what the rest of the two-year application process will be for the project, which is being organized and done by a team from the Netherlands.

"Ever since I was a kid, it's been a dream," says Miral about her desire to go into space.

Miral, who lives in Sooke on Vancouver Island and works as a co-writer of juvenile fiction novels, lived out in Jackpine Flats from ages 12 to 19.

She applied for Mars One last September and says her life has changed since she found out she was shortlisted Dec. 30.

"I got an email and life has been pretty different since then," she says.

Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation that wants to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars, plans to launch an unmanned mission to Mars in 2018 and send up its first four people in 2024 and four more every two years afterward.

About 200,000 people applied in the first round and out of that, 1,058 candidates were shortlisted from all over the world.

Applicants have to be at least 18-years-old and so far the oldest applicant shortlisted is a 72-year-old American man.

Since the application process is two years long, Miral says she's not guaranteed a place on the flights to Mars yet, and although she doesn't know what to expect, she knows there's lots of training ahead.

"All I know is it's difficult and tests the physical and emotional capabilities of everyone," she says.

"I don't know what it is but I'm excited and nervous at the same time."

She urges anyone who wants to go into space to apply when the next round of applications is being taken.

"Absolutely in the future when they take application again, definitely apply. What can be a more amazing adventure than this?" she says.

"It sounds crazy, and awesome."

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