Pinoys among candidates shortlisted for life on Mars

Photo via Mars One Facebook page

Photo via Mars One Facebook page

By Rie Takumi/GMANews – The ubiquitous Filipino migrant is likely to become more ubiquitous.

From conquering foreign shores as workers, several Filipinos are now seeking to establish a presence even outside the planet.

In particular: Mars.

“To be an astronaut has been my life-long fantasy and dream, so for a couple of bucks, why not try, right?” Dr. Michael Pias told GMA News Online via email.

Pias, who is based in Oman, is among the Filipino applicants who have been shortlisted for Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation that will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.

The allure of being the first persons to break the soil of the Red Planet lured over 200,000 applicants to the first round of selection phases. As of December 30, 2013, only 1,058 people, including several Filipinos, remained.

From US to Singapore

One of the shortlisted Filipinos is Jaymee del Rosario, the president of International Metal Source in the United States, who heard about the project through her company’s contracts with various space technology companies in the US.

Another is Shadee Dela Cruz, a nurse from Singapore who, like Pias, wrote an essay on Facebook after seeing the news that she made it to the shortlist.

Qatar-based Willard Daniac and Singapore-based CJ Franco happened upon the program while looking for news on the planet online, while West Australian hauler Duane Locsin learned of the program through various science publications.

Asked on what drove them to apply for Mars One, Daniac and Franco cited childhood dreams of conquering the galaxy. For Dela Cruz, it’s the desire to put the Philippines in “some other planet’s map.”

Why choose Pinoys?

Eagerness, honesty, and dedication to learn from the experience were touted by these Filipinos as possible reasons behind their selection.

But which skills do they think will help them advance to the next round?

“As the owner of my own company, I can clearly work well with others and be a team leader,” said Del Rosario in an email. “Being born in the Philippines, I know that I can easily adapt to any new surroundings and work with any available resources.”

Daniac cites his “knowledge of Astronomy [and] Physics,” as well as the characteristics of the planet Mars, as his advantage.

Franco, on the other hand, thinks that her reliability and trustworthiness made her valuable for the mission.

For Pias, it’s his “good head for observation and analysis.”

And Dela Cruz: “Honestly, I learned all my skills in nursing school. At siyempre, may konting angas na nagpu-push para makagawa ng bagay na medyo nahihiyang gawin ng iba.”

Locsin, meanwhile, said: “In hindsight, the activities, attitude, experience and studies in my life seem inconsequential, but the variety of things I’ve done will help me with this endeavor.”

Peak condition

And because the next application processes will observe their physical and emotional capabilities, the applicants vow to keep their bodies in peak physical condition for whatever hurdles they may face.

Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer of Mars One, said there are more Filipino applicants who passed the process, but because their profiles are private, their names could not be disclosed.

Public profiles of all candidates, regardless of their application’s state, can be found in their Applicants page.

The second round of the selection process will start after March this year. —

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