Ariz. teen could help start colony on Mars



Posted on January 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 12:30 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A Flagstaff teen is one step closer to taking a one-way trip to Mars.

Bailey Cunningham, 19, is one of more than 200,000 people who applied to help start a permanent settlement on the red planet.

She learned last week that she is one of 1,058 people still in the running.

Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation, plans to send crews of four people to the planet every two years, starting in 2024. The first unmanned mission will be launched in 2018.

The Netherlands-based foundation announced its ambitious goal in April.

Cunningham applied after she saw an advertisement calling for people ages 18 and older to help start the colony.

"It seemed like something I would be interested in because I'm into sci-fi, outer space, all of that," she said.

Applicants were required to submit a video explaining why they think they should be selected for the mission.

Cunningham told project organizers she wants to be the first musician and composer on Mars. She is currently studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

A physical assessment will narrow the pool of applicants to a maximum of 40 people. Those applicants will participate in a reality TV show, which will determine the final four.

If Cunningham advances, she will have to spend seven years training for the mission.

Applicants also had to share with Mars One their feelings about leaving Earth for good.

While many of Cunningham's friends are excited about the mission, others told her they would miss her too much.

"I think Bailey is out of this world, but I'd prefer that she stay in it," said her father, Whitney Cunningham.

But for the spirited teen, the trip would be the experience of a lifetime.

"You get to experience something that not one single person in this universe has ever experienced and I think that would make it all worth it," she said.

To help fund the project, visit the mission's Indiegogo page.