Ivan Lehocki (34) from Bilje near Osijek and Marko Lukić (28) from Zagreb have made it down to the final 663 out of what was over 200,000 candidates in the Mars One project. Four people will eventually be selected from the last phase to make the 7-month, 56 million kilometre journey from Earth to Mars in 2025.
“I never dreamt about expensive cars, but I did about going to Mars. I want to fulfil my dream and explore the red planet,” said Geophysicist Lehocki.
“I want us to become a multi-planet civilisation, to explore Mars, asteroids, comets and other objects in the solar system. The fact is that if people go, and not robots, it will inspire children and youth around the world to become scientists, engineers, and even future astronauts. A project of this caliber could unite the planet, in every sense of the word,” Lehocki told 24sata.
In the last phase candidates will be put into groups of four, where their survival skills in testing environments will be put to the test. It is expected that in 2016 the final four will be selected as the first people from Earth to live on Mars. Some have their doubts however that the project will be successful.
“I am afraid that they will not succeed, there is too much excitement from the general public about going to Mars. Food and water will run out too fast. Air pressure is too low and it will be difficult to breathe. Those are not conditions for a safe life, and they could die within 68 days,” said Chris Hadfield, a former commander of the International Space Station.