SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CBS Las Vegas) – For one Utah resident, the realization of his dream might mean sacrificing his family.
The man, 38-year-old Ken Sullivan, is one of 1,058 people selected out of over 200,000 chosen for the next round of consideration in the Mars One project – an initiative that seeks to send 24 humans to Mars for permanent colonization in the not-so-distant future.
If selected, Sullivan would have to say a permanent goodbye to his wife and four young children, as the trip to Mars cannot be reversed, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Norbert Kraft, a medical doctor who is the Chief Medical Officer for Mars One, said that the changes one’s body would undergo after living on Mars would make it impossible to return to Earth due to Mars’ gravity levels.
He noted, “There’s a point of no return for bone density loss.”
Additionally, it would reportedly not be possible to launch a shuttle from Mars.
Sullivan, who presently works at a medevac pilot in New Mexico, understands both the risks and the sacrifice inherent in the mission. Though it did not stop him from applying, he does all the same hope for his family’s support.
“I just hope the family will be able to forgive me down the road,” he told the paper. “Hopefully there isn’t too much hatred of my being selfish in pursuing a dream that isn’t theirs.”
His wife, Becky Sullivan, told the Tribune that she has no desire to stand in the way of his dreams.
“The question is, do we get divorced now or get divorced later?” she said. “If I stand in the way of his dreams and passions, then we get divorced now, so I have to be supportive.”
She added, when asked about what he would do if he were not ultimately selected for the trip to Mars, “I’m sure this won’t be the last thing he wants to try.”
Those behind the Mars One initiative hope to achieve colonization by 2025, the Tribune noted.
“Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2024,” the organization’s website states. “Our first unmanned mission will be launched in 2018.”
The group began its search for candidates in May of 2012 through what they refer to as a “crowdfunding campaign.” People who have been selected for this next round will have to undergo a series of tests and training exercises.