NETHERLANDS – A representative speaking on behalf of the Mars One and Interplanetary Media Group, the organization behind the planned human mission to Mars, released the names of the first four individuals set to depart Earth for Mars in April of 2024. Patrick Van Heyting, Director of Public Relations for Mars One, spoke with investors and members of the media Monday afternoon, saying, “I am pleased to announce the names and nationalities of the four astronauts who will take part in the first phase of the Mars One mission.”
The first team of astronauts will consist of two men and two women; Zaeed Massani, an engineer from Morocco, Dr. Liara T’Soni, a microbiologist from France, and siblings Willow and Jaden Smith from the United States. “These four individuals represent the best humanity has to offer and will lead mankind into a new age,” Van Heyting told investors, following a standing ovation for the four astronauts.
Actor Will Smith told Entertainment Weekly that his children, Willow and Jaden, are very excited about the prospect of spending the rest of their lives on Mars. “We fully support them in their decision. Jada and I have always said, ‘ Follow your dreams,’ and that’s exactly what they’re doing here,” said Smith, who laughed while adding,” Anything to keep them away from the Jenners.”
Isaac Clarke, who designed the strict training program which the first four astronauts will enter later this year, told this reporter he is very excited about the group, particularly Willow and Jaden Smith. “There is nothing child-like about these two. If you’ve met them, you know what I’m talking about. They have a way about them that’s almost godlike. They possess an inner awareness even the Dalai Lama would find difficult not to envy.”
In her final interview, when asked how she would deal with the probability that she would spend the rest of her life on the Red Planet with three other people, Willow Smith told the Mars One Advisory Board that the concept of time was beyond her, “I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.”
“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Clarke, who sits on the Advisory Board. “After she said it, I looked around and saw I wasn’t the only one.”
The four astronauts are scheduled to begin training in July of 2015 at a desert outpost which resembles Mars’ rough terrain. Following completion of the first tier of training, the group will relocate to a more remote environment similar in nature to the Arctic desert. Training and preparations will continue up until the launch in 2024.