To Infinity and Beyond: A Filipina in Mars by 2026

 Image credit: Jason Ross Levy.

Image credit: Jason Ross Levy.

A 28-year-old Filipina may just be one of those chosen to go to Mars in 2026 as part of a crew to establish a permanent human settlement there.

Jaymee del Rosario, who was born in Quezon City, and is the chief executive officer of a metal company in the United States, said she is excited to have the chance to go to Mars, calling that “a dream come true.

Del Rosario is one of the two Filipinos in the shortlist of 202,586 applicants who volunteered to join the ambitious “Mars One” project.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience. I am very happy because I was chosen from 200,000-plus applicants,” she said, hoping that her interest to travel to Mars will encourage more interest in science and technology all over the country.

Del Rosario has a wide range of interests – she's an entrepreneur, metallurgist, political science junkie, president and CEO of International Metal Source and co-founder of Giggup. International Metal Source distributes raw material metals and exotic alloys to aerospace, defense and commercial industries since 2009.

This early and even if she is not yet confirmed to be chosen, Del Rosario said she is already preparing for the seven-month journey to Mars. That includes a lot of hiking, half-marathons, and research to better understand the planet Mars.

She said she has also traveled to London, New York and Washington DC to meet her possible teammates.

Del Rosario said there are a total of 16 candidates from Asia for the Mars trip, two of them Filipinas. She expressed confidence that she will be chosen.

“And If I don’t get chosen, I’m still happy that I created awareness of space exploration worldwide. That would be enough for me,” she said.

Meanwhile, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Assistant Secretary Mon Liboro said he is grateful that a Filipina such as Del Rosario is helping raise awareness or interest for Science and Technology.

Liboro, who heads the Science and Technology Information Institute, said the DOST recently announced the launch of the Philippines’ first micro-satellite, the first of its kind in the country.

“We hope that you (Del Rosario) will become the face of the young, enterprising and science-minded people in order to inspire more young people towards the path of Science and Technology,” Liboro said.

"We have been establishing a lot of firsts. In space exploration and space science, soon the Philippines will launch its first Philippine-assembled micro-satellite, designed and assembled by Filipino engineers and scientists. They are now in Japan. That micro-satellite has been completed and we are just waiting for its launch in space," he added.

According to its website mars-one.com, Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. The first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars.

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News story from The Manila Bulletin.