Twenty-two-year old University of KwaZulu-Natal student, Divashen Govender, may be calling planet Mars home in the next ten years if all goes according to plan. Govender has been shortlisted for the Mars One project which plans to send humans to live on our neighbouring planet by 2025.
Govender, along with 704 other shortlisted candidates, will first go through a set of interviews and then move on to training in 2015.
“The thought of a one-way trip to space is not affecting me as much as it is other people around me. I have always wanted to go into space and now I am one interview away from reaching my dream. I found out in December that I had made the second cut, and kept it to myself,” the applied maths and physics student told The New Age.
The candidates will be separated into groups of four and will receive training over the next decade. At the end, only four people will be chosen for the one-way trip trip to Mars – it takes around seven to eight months to reach the planet. Thereafter, one group will be sent every four years.
“Growing up I have never wanted the normal life and dreamed of doing something extraordinary. I have always been into astrophysics and loved studying the stars, wanting to know more about the other planets. I am well aware of the risk and have accepted that I could be living on Mars in 10 years’ time. It’s exciting so I am focusing on the positives of the project,” Governder added.
If Govender does make it to final group to head to Mars, he will be the third South African, after Mark Shuttleworth and Mandla Maseko, as well as the first Indian South African to go into space.