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Dreaming of life on Mars

Shepparton-born actor and model Korum Ellis makes short list for Mars settlement project.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS January 21, 2014 4:56am

Shepparton-born Korum Ellis has made the Mars One project short list.


Living more than 150 days from Earth in a cramped habitat and under threat of death from a toxic atmosphere isn’t everyone’s idea of paradise.

But for Shepparton-born actor and model Korum Ellis it would realise a lifelong dream.

His interest in Mars began in high school when a teenage Mr Ellis became hooked on fictional novels about the planet.

‘‘It became a hobby studying planets and the solar system and led to my interest in the expansion of space travel,’’ Perth-based Mr Ellis, 30, said.

‘‘As new technology has made the possibility of an adventure to another planet more likely in my lifetime my interest has deepened.’’

His passion for space led him to apply and get short-listed for the Mars One project Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp spearheads.

The project aims to establish a human colony on Mars by 2024.

Out of 200000 applicants, Mr Ellis was shortlisted along with 1057 others.

‘‘It’s a little bit flattering, a lot of brilliant people have applied and I’m appreciative of the selection so far,’’ he said.

‘‘I was hoping I was a pretty good candidate and wasn’t really surprised — I’m a good age, with a keen interest in the subject and terrestrial endeavours.’’

Mr Ellis said his interest in sustainable micro-farming might also have worked in his favour.

He said he expected his time on Mars to be difficult.

‘‘There won’t be much glory — the living conditions will be cramped and we’ll have to exit habitats in well protected suits,’’ Mr Ellis said. ‘‘One per cent exposure to the atmosphere will result in instant death and we’ll be under threat from constant radiation.’’

He said creating food and oxygen from his surrounds would be hard work, but the sacrifices made would be worth it.

‘‘The chance to be the first human on another planet is so mind-blowingly overwhelming, I’m happy to make sacrifices of living in an awkward environment,’’ Mr Ellis said.

The pioneer potential means Mr Ellis has no second thoughts about leaving friends and work behind.

‘‘My family has been mostly supportive — a couple think I’m crazy, but people are warming up to the idea,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t think people realise how realistic the endeavour is.’’

He said Mars’ atmosphere was not human-friendly and the risk of death scared him.

‘‘I’d be concerned if someone I was flying with had no fears. It will be tough psychologically and a lot of things in space are trying to kill us,’’ Mr Ellis said.

‘‘But I have faith in the contributors.’’

To get through the next rounds, Mr Ellis must pass a medical examination, pass a psychological questionnaire and submit a video.

For more information on the Mars One project, visit http://www.mars-one.com/

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