Mars Mission

Reporter: Graeme Butler

It's one small step for a Perth man, one giant leap towards Mars. For years the closest we've come to walking on the surface of Mars is Hollywood fuelling our imaginations about one day living on another world but for Perth's Korum Ellis - science fiction could become science fact. Korum has been shortlisted to join a Mars expedition... a bold venture by a private organisation called Mars One. Applications were called from people interested in being considered for the mission and 200 thousand applied... they picked 1000 and Korum was one of them. The private Mars One Mission is expected to cost around 6 billion dollars to mount, with the first manned craft landing on the red planet in 2025 it will be a one way journey for everyone on board. "A return journey would quadruple the cost of the program the estimated real world cost of the programme at the moment is around 6 billion dollars."

Once on the planet the crew of four will have to establish a base and be completely self-sufficient, that's one area Korum has been working on at home, he has developed a microfarm. The shortlist of 1000 will be culled to 40 in 2 years and then the final applicants will begin preparation, and that's one of the ways Mars One hopes to raise capital by broadcasting it. "It will be a little bit like a big brother situation where the living environment and training conditions of all the applicants will be recorded 24 hours a day and edited down into some power pack exciting episodes and released to the public that will generate a lot of media attention and that will help generate a lot of funding for the program through advertising, brand affiliation, product placement and that sort of thing."

While it all sounds slightly farfetched - those involved are convinced the Mars One project won't just get off the ground it will blast off. "Do you think it's going to happen? Definitely do, the technology is available, it's a question of if we can organise enough earth resources to get the program to occur." It's been 45 years since Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on another world sparking a generation of people dreaming of space exploration, Korum Believes Mars One will do the same. "I think the mars program could be such an inspirational for a whole generation like the moon landing was spawned a whole generation of scientists that were interested in how much we could achieve as a species and i think the mars program can do that for whole other generation." The first Australian in Space, Andy Thomas, is now leading a cross agency team working towards its own manned mission to Mars. He's sceptical about the chances of the private Mars One project and even less enthusiastic about leaving people on a hostile planet. "You can't leave people there for long periods of time because of the radiation exposure it would have serious health consequences to them so these people would not have expectation of a long life if they stayed permanently on Mars."

"You may well die on Mars? I may well die on the way to Mars, there are a lot of risks involved in the program but they're calculated risks and they're risks I'm willing to get involved with." Korum's 30 years old now and will be in his 40's by the time the mission is scheduled to launch, he believes it's important to stay fit and healthy to have his best shot at aiming for the stars and making his mark in History.

For more details

Mars One Project