May 7, 2014 8:14 pm

Edmonton woman one step closer to one-way ticket to Mars

Christy Foley and her husband Ian Runkle. Both applied for the Mars One Project, but only Foley made it.

Shannon Greer, Global News

EDMONTON – The Mars One shortlist has been narrowed, and Christy Foley of Edmonton is among the 54 Canadians who still have a chance of, one day, roaming the Red Planet.

The project, which is the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Landorp, plans to send a few willing earthlings on a one-way trip to Mars, with no chance of returning to Earth. The Mars One mission is to send up crews of four every two years starting in 2024, in hopes of colonizing the planet by 2025.

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The 1,058 candidates picked last December have been whittled down by one-third, leaving 705 standing. Twenty-one Canadians did not make the latest cut, which included a review of candidates’ personal and health profiles.

Foley wasn’t surprised to learn her medical didn’t raise any red flags; she says she knows she’s in good health and active.

The 33-year-old Alberta government employee is now focused on brushing up on her interview skills to make it to the third round. After that comes the regional competitions, where “applicants will participate in challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars.”

“That’s another source of worry,” she confesses. “If it’s the North American region, then the Canadians will be at a distinct disadvantage against the American voting power.”

The last round will be an internationally broadcast ‘survivor-type’ competition, and finally, training.

Foley hopes to make it that far, but ultimately, she just wants to see the best candidates in those final spots.

“I believe I could be one of the best,” she added, “but I’d definitely need those eight years of training they plan on giving the people.”

If she does get chosen, Foley has a few things she’d like to do before seeing the “pale blue dot disappearing” behind her, such as: climbing the Inca Trail, visiting the Galapagos Islands, and swimming in waterfalls in Thailand and Costa Rica.

“Lots to do on my bucket list before I go.”

Foley admits that she would, of course, miss her loved ones, and that living in a space suit would take some getting used to. But she still supports the project wholeheartedly.

“I think this is something we really need to do as the human race,” she said.

One reason Foley believes the mission to Mars is so important is that it might inspire people on Earth to live more within their means. She explains that those who get selected by Mars One will have to essentially live within a closed system, being very mindful of recycling everything and monitoring their air and water quality — something Foley thinks people on Earth need to do more.

READ MORE: Edmonton woman makes shortlist for one-way ticket to Mars

“Another (reason) is…having all of humanity on one planet is inherently risky if a pandemic or an asteroid or climate change; these things have the potential to wipe our Earth, so we should be spreading ourselves out to reduce the risk that way.”

For Foley, the urge to explore and discover new things is also an intrinsic part of humanity.

“We’re going to have to discover more of these oceans and more space, the new final frontiers.”

Foley’s husband originally applied for the Mars One mission, as well, but didn’t get selected. It looks like he might have another shot at it, though since Foley believes more applicants will be accepted later this year.

“My husband’s planning on applying again, but this time, letting me edit his application.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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