A Long Island native has been selected as one of 100 finalists to be shipped off to Mars on a private, one-way expedition.
This is not a punishment. On the contrary, 21-year-old Laurel Kaye, a senior at Duke University majoring in physics and chemistry, appears rather thrilled at the prospect of being among the first humans to occupy the air-less, frigid, radiation-drenched planet. Congratulations, Laurel, that sounds like so much fun!
Oh, and another thing. Kaye will also have to die on Mars, since the mission—a private Dutch operation called Mars One—is really only feasible in one direction, 'cause money: According to the Daily News, a round-trip expedition to Mars would cost around $90 billion, whereas the one-way ticket is a much more sane $6 billion.
Kaye is eerily accepting of the fact that, if selected, she would never again enjoy the sound of trees rustling in the night breeze, or feel the chill of the mountain air on a brisk fall day, or watch as two rats fought to the death outside a Duane Reade, the victor ultimately severing the other's head for use as a hat.
“Dying is going to happen whether you are here or on Mars,” she told the tabloid. “I don’t see myself as dying on Mars. I see myself as living on Mars." If only more people from Long Island were willing to make such a sacrifice.
In addition to the whole unprecedented one-way trip thing, Mars One is not even close to raising the funds it needs to send Kaye or anyone else to the Red Planet—as it stands, the company has raised less than $1 million from private donations. SAD.
Meanwhile, let's not forget that we have a perfectly functional planet—one on which we can actually breathe without dying—right under our feet, and it could use our attention. 2014 was the hottest year on record, sea levels are rising faster than expected and the Pentagon has issued a very real warning that climate change could pose an "immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages."
Priorities, you know?