• 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
Eight teens suspected of child rape in Sweden
A police car investigating a separate incident in Gothenburg. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Eight teens suspected of child rape in Sweden
10 hours ago

Eight teenage boys have been arrested in connection with an alleged gang rape of a child in Gothenburg in western Sweden.

Traffic woes as Sweden's snowy weather returns
A frozen car in Stockholm last month. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Traffic woes as Sweden's snowy weather returns
11 hours ago

Thought spring was on its way? Who did you think you were kidding? It's Sweden in February!

Julian Assange
'Sweden is a country with fair reputation for justice'
Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

'Sweden is a country with fair reputation for justice'
12 hours ago

British PM David Cameron has backed Swedish prosecutors, saying Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should hand himself over and "end this sorry saga".

'Dildo T-shirt' photo defended by Swedish newspaper
Does this really look like a dildo? Photo: Peter Palmquist

'Dildo T-shirt' photo defended by Swedish newspaper
13 hours ago

Can you see a dildo in this photo?

The Local Guide
Who is the shy Swede behind all those global smash hits?
Taylor Swift, Max Martin and Katy Perry. Photo: Matt Sayles/Chris Pizzello/Felipe Dana/AP/Invision

Who is the shy Swede behind all those global smash hits?
15 hours ago

You may not know his name, but you have definitely heard his music. This is Max Martin, the Swede behind your favourite pop hits.

Teenager arrested after asylum housing stabbing
Swedish police investigating a different crime. Johan Nilsson/TT

Teenager arrested after asylum housing stabbing
17 hours ago

A 17-year-old is being held after a man was left seriously injured following a stabbing in Västervik in southern Sweden.

Swedish hitmaker Max Martin takes home top music prize
Swedish producer Max Martin. Photo: Axel Öberg/Polar Music Prize

Swedish hitmaker Max Martin takes home top music prize
18 hours ago

Introducing the 2016 winners of Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize.

Border checks
Swedish coast guard prepares for spring refugee dockings
The Swedish coast guard in action this week. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Swedish coast guard prepares for spring refugee dockings
19 hours ago

Staff say it will become more difficult to patrol waters between Sweden and Denmark when locals start sailing for pleasure in the spring.

The Local List
Six tales that prove romance is far from dead in Sweden
Could your Swedish romance start like this? Photo: Ulf Lundin/Image Bank Sweden

Six tales that prove romance is far from dead in Sweden
20 hours ago

Dating can be tough in Sweden, but love stories still exist, so if you're single ahead of Valentine's Day, read this!

Julian Assange
Will Swedish prosecutors question Assange in London?
Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Will Swedish prosecutors question Assange in London?
1 day ago

UPDATED: Julian Assange's lawyer has said he "cannot answer today" if the Wikileaks founder will agree to let Swedish prosecutors interrogate him at Ecuador's embassy.

Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
Travel
Why are people so happy in Malmö?
Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Less than one percent of Swedish crimes linked to refugees
Features
Single? Here are the ten Swedish words you have to learn
Blog updates

9 February

Förr, förut, förrän, före and … innan! (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! A long time ago, I got this question: It would be a huge help if you could…" READ »

 

5 February

Editor’s blog, February 5th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, A friend of mine wrote from abroad this week to ask me if international media…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Lindesberg, Örebro
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
Lifestyle
VIDEO: What's the fuss about Sweden's semla bun?
Culture
Ten fab Swedish hits for February
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: February 6th-7th
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
Gallery
Property of the week: Öjersbo, Kungsbacka
International
Why is the Pope coming to Sweden?
3,454
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se