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Mars100 candidate inspires PSI students

Mars100 candidate inspires PSI students


Tribune News Network

Mikolaj Zielinski, a Mars100 candidate, flew in from Dubai to talk to PSI students.
The Mars One Project is designed to send astronaut explorers to Mars on a one-way trip to discover, live and thrive on the only known planet that can potentially support life. Part of Mars One's mission is to successfully see through its Astronaut Selection Program, which started in 2013. It currently has whittled nearly 200,000 applicants from around the world to the top 100 candidates, of which Zielinski is proud to have made the ranks. The shortlisted applicants will then be taken through two more selection rounds, the first of which starts at the end of 2017. The final selection will list 24 individuals, grouped into teams of four, who will then be converted into Mars One employees and begin their 10-year-long intensive training. The end goal is to send the first team of four, comprising two men and two women, to Mars in the year 2031.
Zielinski, who has a double Masters in Computer Science and Mathematics, is an incredibly passionate believer that humans will become a multi-planetary species before the end of this century. When asked what inspired him to sign up for a one-way trip to Mars, he responded:"I can't recall a time when I wasn't a space enthusiast. My Polish background limited my ability to access national and regional space programmes around the world because Poland does not have a space programme. However, the Mars One Project is one that transcends national boundaries and racial, social and academic backgrounds. It is one that allows me to strive my hardest towards entering an astronaut programme."
Zielinski delivered three presentations during his entire day's visit to the school. Key Stage 1 students were fascinated about the Mars facts he delivered, explaining to them how Mars is a very cold planet, that it has seasons and sunrise and sunset like Earth, how a person can jump three times higher on the surface of Mars, and how the planet could have water underground. He shared photos of rockets and life in space and on Mars.
Zielinski enlightened the Key Stage 2 students on why Mars was the best candidate for human inhabitation and illustrated the process of how the Mission to Mars will take place. It will involve sending several missions to Mars, with robot-like rovers to set up inflatable habitats for future human visitors. Rovers will be used to gather data and analysis over a period of time before it will be deemed safe for astronauts. Once ready, the first team of four astronauts will take seven months to travel to Mars, after which the first arrivals will ready the habitat further for more astronauts in the following years.
With the Key Stage 3 and 4 students, Zielinski shared more technical aspects of the Mars One Project. Zielinski explained the importance of teamwork, and how he will be training with three other members for 10 years to build their team rapport. One of the selection criteria is the ability of the candidate to absorb large amounts of information in a short period of time. In the 10 years, candidates will have to master theory and practical application in many fields, including engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry and physics, as they will be unsupported on Mars. He explained how the reduced gravity on Mars will have a weakening effect on human bone and muscle, which means astronauts will have to exercise for a minimum of two hours a day for maintenance. Higher radiation and the lack of a magnetic force on Mars will mean humans will only be able to venture outside for a maximum of three hours.
"As a Mars One candidate, I have an interesting story to tell that children apparently like very much. Therefore, I take every opportunity to meet them and share my fascination for space. I want to develop their interest in science and inspire them to consider the future of humanity as multi-planetary civilization," said Mikolaj.