First Nigerian to Go to Mars

Eromosele Ighodalo, 32, a web developer from Edo State, is the first Nigerian and one of the 100 people selected around the world to go to Mars to prepare a human settlement in the red planet in future By Olu Ojewale* 1-Eromosele-Ighodalo-450x450HIS ambition goes beyond the skies. In fact, Eromosele Ighodalo, 32, is reaching for Mars. Ighodalo is one of 100 persons selected across the globe to take a trip to red planet in the near future. His name is among the 50 men and 50 women announced on February 16, for the first human trip to Mars. According to Bas Landsdorp, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mars One, 202,586 persons applied for selection for trip to Mars. “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” Lansdorp said when the names of successful 50 men and 50 women were released. “These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.” The publication on the Mars website said that 100 Round Three candidates were selected from a pool of 660 candidates after participating in personal online interviews with Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer. During the interviews, the candidates were given the opportunity to show their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and their motivation to be part of the life changing expedition. “We were impressed with how many strong candidates participated in the interview round, which made it a very difficult selection”, Kraft said. As it happened, Ighodalo is the only Nigerian selected and one of the seven Africans to make the trip. According to the announcement done in February this year, other participants are 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia and seven from Oceania. Realnews interacted with Ighodalo through email when all previous appointments could not be kept because of his busy schedules. Excerpts; Realnews: What is the Mars project all about? Ighodalo: Mars One is a not-for-profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement, the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone’s mission to Mars, including yours. See more at: Realnews: How did you get to know about Mars project? Ighodalo: I have always been a science/future technology/space technology enthusiast, and as thus I keep abreast of the trends and the advancement in the industry. I came about an article on the internet describing a certain Netherland non-profit foundation having the goal of a human settlement on mars, and as you would guess, that sparked the most excitement in me. Realnews: I understand 100 persons have been selected worldwide, including you? What was the criteria for selection for the programme? Ighodalo: Please visit the frequently asked question section on the Mars One web site as described in the link below. Realnews: Who or which organisation is funding the programme? And how much does each person has to pay for the trip? Ighodalo: The programme would be funded via media rights sponsors, investors and enthusiast that would like to see this venture come to fruition, as it is for all humanity. [caption id="attachment_17751" align="alignright" width="300"]Ighodalo Ighodalo[/caption] Realnews: When are you likely to depart for Mars and how long would you be there? Ighodalo: Being amongst the Mars100 does not automatically qualify me as one of those that would go to the red planet. Mars One would conduct a third and fourth round for a final selection of 24 candidates that would eventually make the seven months one way trip to the red planet. Also refer to the answer in 1. Realnews: Don’t you feel scared that anything can happen on the way? Ighodalo: Of course, this scares me a little. As Richard Branson, once said, “If your dream does not scare you, it isn’t big enough”. It is in this light I choose to join the Mars one project. Mars One is, however, taking every necessary precaution, as various tests will be conducted and situation certified safe, before the equipment will be tested with humans. Realnews: What are the lessons you envisage young Nigerians can derive from your trip? Ighodalo: I would like to encourage every Nigerian to “think out of the box”, to push forward with that small idea regardless of the hindrances. We in Africa, especially the youths, are constrained by so many factors including culture, religion, security, etc. and as thus, we let go of ground breaking ideas that could impact positively on so many lives. So I would strongly encourage the youths to actually think out of the box, not just in the bit to speak politically correctly, but also in their actions *Source Realnews]]>

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