Dianne McGrath is on a mission. She hopes to become one of 24 astronauts that receive a one-way ticket to set up the first human community on Mars in 2031.
The sustainability consultant, director, public speaker, author and PhD researcher is currently one of one hundred candidates from 34 countries of different ages shortlisted for the program run by Mars One, a not-for-profit organisation based in the Netherlands.
By taking her big leap, McGrath hopes to inspire others to take their own big leap, whatever that may be. She also hopes to throw a spotlight on sustainable living and to get people thinking.
She explains that the new community on Mars will have to become as earth independent as quickly as possible.
‘It reduces the risk to the society as a whole if we can look after our own needs,’ she says, adding that it takes seven months to send a space ship to Mars and the shipping costs are exorbitant.
‘Mars One’s plan is to send a lot of the infrastructure in advance of the community arriving. Our living quarters will have solar panels for energy production and we will have the infrastructure to create our own water, oxygen and food. Technology such as 3D printing will help reduce the need for spare parts for equipment.’