Carleton grad shortlisted for one-way trip to Mars

Carleton alum Andrew Rader has volunteered to embark on a space mission that would send him one-way to Mars. (Photo submitted)

Andrew Rader doesn’t describe himself as a risk taker.

But, the 34 year-old Carleton alum is so passionate about Mars exploration that he is willing to make a one-way trip to the red planet.

“I always thought humans should go to Mars,” says Rader, who received his aerospace engineering undergraduate degree in 2003 and master’s degree in 2005. “I wanted to see it happen so badly.”

Rader, who now teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and won the reality series Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All last year, volunteered along with 200,000 people to travel on the spacecraft designed by Mars One – which is working to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars, with crews of four departing every two years starting in 2024.

Rader’s background and experience in aerospace engineering helped him make the first cut, and he is now among 1,058 people who will go through medical testing and interviews.

He knew he wanted to volunteer for the Mars expedition when he heard that Mars One was taking applicants – even if it meant he wouldn’t return home.

“It makes so much more logical sense to send people one-way,” says Rader. “This is skipping all the preliminary steps and going straight to the goal.”

Rader says that that the hardest part of the trip would be returning to Earth, which has never been done before and could have some risks.

But, the Mars voyage could help speed up the process in developing the technology to make future trips to the planet.

“I think that necessity is the mother of invention and we need to actually drive technology,” Rader says. “I don’t know where we would be without European explorers. There would be no sense to develop steamships, or airplanes or transatlantic cables.”

While he has parents and siblings that he would miss back on Earth, he says that travelling to Mars has always been his dream and that he would need to have a close relationship with his fellow crew members.

“I’d only go if I knew I’d have a strong bond and rapport with the people I was going with,” he says, adding that he would also take safety into consideration. “I wouldn’t go unless I feel confident. I would need to see a demonstration of the hardware. There are a lot of pre-requisites.”

Rader is so passionate about Mars exploration that he has also written a book entitled Leaving Earth: Why One-Way to Mars Makes Sense, which is available on Amazon.

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=11788

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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