Training for a Mission to Mars
Can you imagine living on another planet? Shooting off into space and having a totally new life experience that no one else has had before?
That’s what Mars One is trying to accomplish in the next 10 years.
Within the next decade, the plan will be to have a colony of people from Earth living on Mars.
The Mars One mission is about pushing yourself past your limits and boundaries to become the best version of yourself.
It’s about living beyond what you know.
“The training will focus on staying fit, on team challenges and sometimes on the psychology of operating under extreme stress and extreme physical endurance at the same time,” says Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One.
In honor of World Space Week, Reebok is highlighting three candidates living in the U.S., preparing and hoping they’ll be among the chosen few for the special mission.
“When I became a Mars One candidate it affected my fitness regimen in that it gave my training a purpose; a mission,” says Zachary Gallegos, Mars One candidate and geochemist and field geologist specializing in Mars and Moon studies at the University of New Mexico.
“It gave me a reason to push myself even harder than before, because accessing that last bit of energy may mean all the difference when on Mars.”
For many of the candidates, like Oscar Mathews, an aerospace engineer for NAVAIR in Maryland, fitness is already part of their daily routines.
“I mostly work out with my Navy Reserve unit, and run and bike when I have spare time outside of the work,” says Mathews.
Jaymee Orillosa Del Rosario , candidate and CEO/Founder of International Metal Source, says it’s the upper-body strength she’s focused on.
“I have always been a long-distance runner, especially half marathons and have a full awareness of what I am eating,” she says.
“Since I have been with Mars One, I am training to do more upper-arm-strength workouts and yoga.”
While the candidates focus on ways to stay in shape while on Earth, they’ll also go through intense training from the program to prepare them for the trip and are being forced to think strategically.
“What if your buddy trips on Mars and breaks a leg?” says Lansdorp.
“Can you carry him, his 75 kg space suit and your own 75 kg space suit? What if there is a hole in his suit and you only have two minutes?”
Talk about extreme pressure.
That’s why Gallegos says training now even though the mission may seem far away is incredibly important.
“A pre-launch fitness regimen that trains every part of the body is very important: upper body, core, legs, everything,” says Gallegos.
“Endurance training is very important for a mission like this as astronauts may encounter situations where they must push their body to the limit.”
Mathews agrees that there’s little room for error.
“The whole body needs to be in fine attunement," he says. “It doesn’t bode well if you’ve neglected a portion, or need expensive supplements to maintain your form.”
But training to get there is only half the battle. It takes serious training to just live on Mars. The fitness levels of these candidates needs to be advanced to ensure survival.
“Staying fit will be important on Mars, because a lot of the work there will be very labor intensive,” says Lansdorp.
“There won't be a gym on Mars to train, so they will use what is available: materials or each other.”
Lansdorp says at the start of the mission the Mars One settlers will be in incredible shape but as time goes on things will shift and the crew will need to be prepared for whatever comes their way.
“They arrive on Mars as 'superhumans', being able to lift much more than they could on Earth,” he says.
“They will need excellent control over their bodies to make as few mistakes as possible, and they need to be very healthy: there are no hospitals on Mars (yet).”
While Gallegos, Mathews and Rosario continue to prepare they are reminded that their chances of reaching the red planet are still slim.
The full 100 candidates will be reduced to four to six teams, each with four members. These teams will be trained full-time for the mission, the first group will go and the rest will follow every two years.
Rosario says no matter the outcome, bonds have been created among the 100 candidates.
“I have forged so many friendships, almost like family, with the whole Mars One 100,” she says.
Gallegos says the Mars One mission is the realization of a lifelong dream.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut exploring space and other planets,” says Gallegos.
“Mars One represents a mission that I have been waiting for my entire life.”
Mathews looks forward to the exploration—the landing and learning.
“As part of the final crew, I would expect to see immediate technologies we can apply back on Earth to help solve some issues with respect to sustainability and access to clean drinking water,” he says.
Gallegos says in the mean time, the candidates continue to keep their eyes on the prize and keep up their training to be as fit as they possibly can be for the mission of a lifetime.
“My physical training will continue and increase as the launch date nears,” he says.
“We are still a few years away from the start of the mission, but I will continue to train and keep fit as if the rocket were leaving tomorrow.”