- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2014

More than 200,000 people volunteered to be the first to walk on Mars, but only 1,000 made the first cut. Many of them have military backgrounds.

“It’s a hell of a thing to tell your mother,” Navy Mass Communications Specialist Glenn Brooks Slaughter told defense website Military.com. “That was not a fun phone call. But my mom is an adventurer — she’s traveled the world. We’ve traveled together. She’s come around.”

When this opportunity opened up to me, at 24 years old, there was no looking back, no second guessing. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life,” Army Lt. Heidi Beemer said.

The Mars One project is scheduled to begin in 2025, with crews of four taking off in two-year intervals, Military.com reported. While military experience isn’t a prerequisite, the skills that veterans possess — namely a proven ability to work well in teams — are highly rated.

Military.com reported that the list of other veterans to make the cut also includes a “CV-22 Osprey pilot, several fighter pilots, flight surgeons, a Navy SEAL, a UH-60 Blackhawk mechanical test pilot and a Navy journalist.”

“The key question is how do you work as a team?” said Dr. Norbert Kraft, formerly with NASA and now chief medical officer for the Mars One mission, said in the Military.com report. “You have to complement each other, depend on each other. One thing is respect, and I think you learn that in the military … and you have to know what you want and you have to be serious.”

“I’m single, I’m 36, I don’t have any kids,” he said. “I don’t own a lot of things. I’m interested in being part of something that advances the human race,” said Specialist Slaughter, who currently pursuing an studying advance digital journalism degree from Syracuse University. 

Mars One participants who land on the red planet will have one small bit of comfort: A communications center will be put in place starting with an unmanned craft that will leave earth in 2018. Robots, water, and oxygen processing equipment will be ready and waiting for them, Military.com said. Two years worth of supplies will have touched down before the first astronauts enter the alien atmosphere.

Mars One has a projected budget of $6 billion for its first four-member team. 

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