Marina Miral was born in Vanderhoof and has been shortlisted to join the Mars One program which could land on the red planet in 2025.
Miral is a fiction novelist and one of 1,058 people selected to participate in the program which is planning to send only a handful of people into space in 2024. The plan is to keep sending the right individuals in small groups every two years to a total of 40 people, enough to establish a colony on Mars.
Miral has yet to find out whether she will make it onto the next stage of the selection process. The Mars One program will eventually host a series of challenges that will be broadcast and used to help fund the program and weed out the contestants.
Miral found out she was chosen on Dec. 30 in the morning.
“I had never been more excited,” she said. “I was shaking, I couldn’t sit down. I paced around the house for two days… It’s made my whole year, it’s made my whole life. I don’t know what they chose me, but I hope they see something in me that maybe I don’t.”
Miral is a hardcore trekkie whose love for science fiction was part of the forces that drove her to apply for the Mars One program. She lived in Vanderhoof until she was eight years old and continues to visit the community since she still has family in the area.
“They’re really excited and super supportive,” said Miral about her family. “I’m really blessed. They probably are worried but right now they’re not showing it.”
In her application video Miral talks about her love of science fiction and how when she was younger all she wanted to do was join Starfleet Academy, a training ground for astronauts and adventurers in the Star Trek universe.
She also says that she likes living in cramped quarters, would dedicate herself completely to the mission and even if she died en route or in orbit it would still have been worth it for her.
There are critics who ask whether the science or technology is feasible, and whether the funding, only $116,654 so far out of a proposed $4 billion that will be needed, will ever reach its goal.
To these critics Miral says “I don’t share those concerns, in fact I urge everybody not to listen to the critics because if we listened to them that’s what makes it come true. If everyone gets behind Mars One I think there’s nothing that can stop it from happening.”
The next step for Miral is to just wait and see what happens. The program will contact her soon, the interview process will begin, and the next step in her journey to Mars will be made.