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Thayer grad applies to Mars mission

Jan 24, 2014   |   by Sara McGahan   |   The Dartmouth

Max Fagin Th’11 may be one of the first men to walk on Mars. Fagin is one of 1,058 individuals chosen by Mars One — a program that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet — to advance into the second round of its application process. If chosen, Fagin would leave for Mars in 2024 and never return to Earth.

Establishing Mars as a second home for humans has been the driving goal behind Fagin’s entire life and career, he said.

“There is absolutely no question in my mind that life on Earth is something that I would be willing to leave behind for a future on Mars,” Fagin said...

...Over 200,000 people submitted applications to Mars One, creating videos and answering several questions.

“They wanted to make sure I’m insane enough to want to leave the planet, but sane enough to survive once I get there,” Fagin said.

Fagin said that human settlement in outer space is much more probable on Mars than on any other unoccupied planet. Mars contains water and metal, resources that are important to human life.

Mars One is an independent nonprofit and plans to raise money through private investors, online crowd-funding sites and a reality television show. Though the venture is risky and expensive, Fagin said he believes the long-term payoffs make it worthwhile.

“Despite the fact that it is an incredible long shot, I wanted to be a part of it,” Fagin said. “If the program fails, I don’t want it to be because of a lack of enthusiasm or ability on the side of the applicants.”

After eight years of extensive training on Earth, Mars One will send four people to the Red Planet. After the initial send-off, additional crews will journey to Mars every two years.

The expedition’s purpose is to create a thriving human population on Mars. Research may be done in the settlers’ spare time, but it is not the primary focus of the mission.

Fagin said he believes the skills he learned at Dartmouth will serve him well if he is chosen to travel to Mars.

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