• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Gothenburg engineer on one-way mission to Mars

The Local · 16 Jan 2014, 11:23

Published: 16 Jan 2014 11:23 GMT+01:00

Mars One, a non-profit organization founded in the Netherlands, aims to have four humans living on Mars in ten years' time. The project, which is expected to cost $6 billion, will send a further four people every two years in order to build the first human colony on the red planet.
 
And after the call-out for volunteers yielded over 200,000 applications, organizers whittled down the list of hopefuls to 1,058 people, one of whom was 28-year-old Oliver Barrera, a Colombian native who has called Gothenburg home for four years.
 
But why on earth (or Mars) would someone want to take the seven-month journey through space in the first place?
 
"I've always been interested in space," Barrera tells The Local. "When I saw the application, I didn't need to think long before I applied. I think it's a really interesting project and I truly believe it's possible."
 
He says that while there have been many similar projects before, he has confidence in the organizers and their business model this time around.
 
"With unlimited funds the mission would be successful," he adds. 
 
The project aims to fund the expedition through crowdsourcing, with current donations being put towards financing conceptual design research.
 
The company aims to train the winners to build a living space measuring 50 by 10 metres, where they will spend their lives working on the colony and enjoying the fruits of a 1,000-metre cubed total living space. They'll have internet access, enough room to grow plants and trees, and will even be able to text friends on earth (albeit with a six-minute delay).
 
However, one catch is that the journey will be one way, which isn't a concern for the Gothenburger.
 
"A lot of people make a big deal about it being a one-way trip... but I don't see any other way to go to Mars. A round trip is a waste of time and money, and why would you want to go all the way to Mars for just a short stay?" Barrera says.
 
Barrera, an electronic engineer who is currently undertaking a PhD at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, hopes to advance through the next round of medical and psychological tests before he puts too much thought into what could be his last days on earth.
 
"For something like this, you have to dedicate your whole life. I can learn and give back to humanity in general. If it's successful, our trip will give a lot for the people who will end up living on Mars but also hopefully will change life on earth."
 
And what about all that he leaves behind on Earth?
 
Story continues below…
"I'd miss family and friends, of course, and I'd spend a lot of time with them before leaving the planet. I'll miss the diversity, animals, plants, food... most of all the fruit, probably," he says.
 
His family, however, who were initially supportive of his interest in the project, are becoming less and less impressed as Barrera's astronaut dreams become more likely.
 
"My girlfriend was more excited than I was when I got the email saying I'd got through. But then she said 'now this is serious'. Same with my brother and mother, they see this as if it's going to happen - they don't want me to go. Of course I care, but it's a long discussion," he tells The Local. 
 
"But in ten years, I think I can convince them that life on Mars is not really as strange as it sounds."
 

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden halves migration forecast figures for 2016
Refugees and other travellers arriving in Gothenburg last year. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The Swedish Migration Agency has cut its predictions for how many asylum seekers they expect will come to Sweden this year.

Royal husband: 'Britain should not leave the EU'
Sweden's Princess Madeleine and her British-American husband Chris O'Neill. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

What does this British-American husband of a Swedish princess think of Brexit and Hillary Clinton?

Struggling Ericsson pulls plug on CEO Vestberg
Hans Vestberg presents Ericsson's second quarter report last week. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has fired its long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg, the company announced on Monday morning.

Private holiday rentals boom in Sweden
A youth hostel in Sundsvall, central Sweden. Photo: Helena Landstedt / TT

More tourists in Sweden are choosing to rent private homes from the likes of Airbnb – but the hotel industry is just fine.

My Swedish Career
'Fashion is this big industry that can really do better'
Social entrepreneur Stefanie Smith. Photo: Elinor Magnusson

The Local talks to US social entrepreneur Stefanie Smith about transparent fashion and why Sweden's startup scene is about more than just tech.

Sweden to sizzle in the sun for a few more days
The beach at Båstad on Saturday. Photo: TT

The heatwave that hit most of Sweden last week is set to continue until Wednesday at least, according to Swedish weather forecaster, SMHI.

Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90
Fälldin in 1981. Photo: TT/FLT-PICA

Thorbjorn Fälldin, the former farmer who became prime minister in Sweden's first non-Social Democratic government since World War II, has died at the age of 90.

Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Blog updates

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,334
jobs available