Raine Light, Aspiring Martian

A Mars One applicant explains why she wants to take a one-way trip to Mars

By: Viviane Fairbank, Staff Writer

“Only five words?” Raine Light asked, after being told to describe herself simply.

There was a long pause.

“Reliable, adventurous, trustworthy, honest, good friend, communicator,” the Mars One applicant finally decided – seven words, none of which are specifically included in the list of characteristics that Mars One, an organization sending four humans to Mars by 2023, is looking for in its candidates.

Mars One says on its website the selection of future Martians is based on the following qualities: resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, the ability to trust, and creativity or resourcefulness.  An advisor in charge of the selection process, Raye Kass, says “the key factor related to all these qualities is attitude.

And Light definitely has attitude — of the sweet but determined kind. Since Light’s discovery of the Mars One mission April of this year, she has started a “Going to Mars” blog and has been interviewed by CBC’s The Current, Hamilton’s Matt Holmes Show and The List.

Light’s enthusiasm is overwhelming. And yet, Light’s goal during her interviews appears not to be bringing attention to her own candidacy, but instead, to promote Mars One’s overall campaign.

“One of the key questions that I’ve been asked is, ‘What do you fear the most?’” says Light. “My honest response is that I fear that the project is not going to follow through. At some point it will get cancelled, or just won’t get funding, or for whatever reason it just won’t happen.”

Light hopes that constant publicity for Mars One will help them to acquire the funding that they need – which, for now, is approximately $6 billion for the first four Mars settlers, and $4 billion for each group after that, according to The List. Not a small amount to be raised through campaigning.

Part of Mars One’s funding will in fact come from the operation of the mission itself – the process will be filmed for the world to see, as a sort of reality television show.

Bas Landsorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One, tells The List, “That sounds like a lot of money and of course it is a lot of money, but if you compare it to the reviews of another major media event like the Olympic games, it really is not so much. The International Olympic committee in the Olympic games in London had revenues of… more than $1 billion per week, just because the world is watching.”

So travel to Mars may really happen, if we all watch it on TV, and Light says she’s prepared.

Her life has certainly been full of travel already.

“My childhood was unique in that we were always moving, we never really stayed in one place longer than three to four years,” says Light, who has moved with her family to France, the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, among other places.

“It really does have an effect on my dedication and my desire to go out and do this,” says Light about her travel habits. “[My brother and I] learned to be very self-reliant and very open and tolerant of different cultures and people and experiences. Taking that experience and putting it into effect is one of the reasons I’m very keen on doing this.”

Light has always been interested in astronomy, but quietly. It was only when she read about the Mars One project in a news article that she decided, “Why not?”

“I’ve said in the past that [my application] was kind of on a whim,” says Light.

Show more