Dubai-based 29-year-old Ritika Singh is very close to her dream, having been shortlisted for the Mars One mission, which plans to set up a human colony on the Red Planet by 2027. She tells Vision how her spirit of adventure helped her stand out from 200,000 other hopefuls
I’ve got an adventurous spirit and I’ve had a passion for travel since I was young. I love mountain trekking, hiking, abseiling and skydiving. Dubai’s geographic location makes it absolutely the best place to live for travel enthusiasts.
I studied for my engineering degree in Dubai. The city is now my home away from home. Living in Dubai has changed my life completely. People say it’s a land of opportunity, and it’s true – the UAE’s diversified culture has definitely helped me become more extroverted.
So far I have survived three rigorous qualifying rounds for Mars One. Round one involved creating a one-minute video and profile – around 1,050 out of more than 200,000 applicants were shortlisted. After the next round, a medical assessment, there were only 750 left. The third round was very challenging – it was a set of technical questions and a test of knowledge about the history of the Mars One project.
‘I had to state why I wanted to go to Mars and why I was the perfect candidate: life is short and if I can contribute to helping mankind I want to do it before I die’
In my video submission I had to state why I wanted to go to Mars, why I was the perfect candidate and explain my personality. I spoke about what I believe in: that life is short and if I can contribute to helping mankind I want to do it before I die.
Another of my personal qualities is I’m highly adaptive, whether it’s exotic food, harsh environments or new people. This is one of the main characteristics any future Mars One pioneer should have.
The next round we face is a group challenge, followed by a physical assessment. The group challenge is to assess how compatible we are working together. I’m confident that I will do quite well. Also, I’ve been going to the gym more regularly, trying to keep myself fit for the final round, the physical test.
The most difficult part will be leaving behind all my loved ones back on Earth. I flew to India to tell my parents and through a lot of explaining and crying I managed to make them see how determined I am and that I’m doing it for the whole of mankind.
I was really happy when I heard that the UAE’s own Mars mission is expected to launch in 2020. It will definitely help to create interest in space exploration. More governments and companies are becoming interested in the Red Planet – Mars is the only planet we know where evidence of life has been found. It’s time for us to go further in exploring the universe to ensure the long-term survival of human beings.