A one-of-a-kind mission to Mars has narrowed its pool of potential explorers, who say they are willing to spend the rest of their lives there Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett has the story of one woman who is in the final running to make the one-way trip.
Sonia Van Meter is ready to make a one-way trip to Mars.
"This is the opportunity of, I'd like to say a lifetime, but it's the opportunity of every lifetime in humanity's history," she said.
She's one of 200,000 people who applied to the nonprofit foundation Mars One with hopes of leaving Earth behind for good.
The group narrowed its pool of candidates to 50 men and 50 women last week. Sonia made the cut.
Eventually, Mars One will pick 24 people from around the world to set up a permanent colony on Mars.
"We'll be growing our own food, we'll be maintaining the facilities and we'll be done a lot of scientific research while we're up there," Sonia said.
Sonia is a 35-year-old political consultant with no science credentials other than being a self-described space junkie.
She's also one of a few finalists with a family of her own. That's left some to wonder why she would choose to leave behind her husband and two stepsons and travel 35 million miles away.
"Those are questions that deserve considered answers. And here it is: I would not be doing this if I didn't have the 100 percent support of my family," she said. "My husband and I promised each other when we got married that we would always seek adventure in one another, and neither one of us can think of a greater adventure than colonizing Mars."
It's an adventure that comes with a lot of risks. Mars isn't exactly hospitable. Low temperatures on the Red Planet can fall to -200 degrees Farenheit, and a recent study by MIT found that even if a manned mission successfully makes the seven-month-long trip to Mars, the first person to get there would only survive for 68 days.
Sonia, though, said she doesn't expect to have time to worry.
"I think I'll be too busy being excited and thrilled and challenged to really be scared," she said.