PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Landing on the Moon was an historic moment.
And now there’s a group of people planning on going to the planet Mars. Not just to visit, but to actually move there and start a community.
A local man is part of the group willing to take one-way tickets to Mars to be pioneers.
The venture is called Mars One and is led by a Dutch entrepreneur. Mars One is raising $6 billion to make it a reality.
Todd Hertzberg, a father of three and physician from Indiana Township, is one of 200,000 people who applied.
“One day my son comes home and says they’re going to have a mission to Mars and anyone can apply,” said Hertzberg.
“The people who know me and are closest to me, understand why this is so important to me,” Hertzberg added. “This is something I’ve always dreamed about doing.”
The group of applicants has been whittled down through questions and a medical exam. The group remaining is now 700, and Hertzberg is still in the running.
“There were really some difficult questions there, which included things like describe a situation where people were panicking and how you reacted to it? How do you deal with fear?” said Hertzberg.
NASA is not talking about Mars One, but does say that traveling to Mars is possible. In fact, NASA says it’s been working on its own mission for years.
“Send people to Mars? Oh absolutely. We have several systems, architectures or technical plans that are feasible to send people to Mars,” said Michele Gates, Sr. Technical Advisor with NASA.
“We’re probably closer to going to Mars than we have ever been,” said Steve Stich, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
But Mars One plans on sending people there in ten years, 2024.
Experts say the trip to Mars would take 6 to 9 months, and while living there is possible, there will be major obstacles.
“There’s a tremendous number of challenges, and that’s exactly why I want to do this,” said Hertzberg.
A woman from Western Pennsylvania has also applied for the mission.
Hertzberg says he grew up watching “Star Trek” and reading Isaac Asimov, and he’s too excited to be nervous.
“We’re going to live there,” said Hertzberg. “We’re going to die there, and hopefully, we’re going to have a lasting presence there as humans.”