ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


"The Astronaut Candidate" by Rebecca Lu Kiernan


Uncharted Worlds by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

"Uncharted Worlds," acrylic by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Mars-One is a privately funded program which plans to send the first humans to Mars in 2023 to establish a permanent colony.  The first step in the astronaut candidate program requires the applicant to submit a video explaining why he or she wants to go to Mars.  This is Ms. Kiernan's statement:

My name is Rebecca Lu Kiernan.  I am a contract negotiator from the paradise-peninsula of Destin, Florida.  I am a widely published poet and writer of fiction and an artist.  I have published in numerous books and periodicals, from ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION to MS. MAGAZINE.  While I have written for some political and literary magazines, science fiction has always been my passion.  It looks like science fiction is blossoming into science fact.  I am in excellent health, single with no children and I want to go to Mars.

I will happily reveal my motivation, but feel it is imperative to first address an important issue.  The Mars-One project will spend millions of dollars and many years of manpower training the astronaut candidates.  While some may have involved themselves in this endeavor for fame, fortune, or novelty, I believe most of them are sincere, driven, passionate people who want to be part of this program with all of their hearts. 

But what happens in the weeks, days and hours before launch?  I conservatively project that over 90% of these adventurous and well-meaning people who truly wanted to contribute to society will not be able to do it.  They will not be able to abandon the people they love, their homes, their luxuries, their habits, their countries and their planet.  These people will have a change of heart and we must expect and understand.  We have asked them to do the unimaginable, to go where no human has gone before, to live out the rest of their lives on an alien planet, to claim that world for future generations, to give their lives to Mars, and to die there. 

I know one thing; if you choose me, if you train me, if you give me the opportunity to sacrifice my life as I know it, to become a pioneer and take my place in history, I will absolutely, with full understanding of risk, true acceptance of isolation, and understanding the absolute impossibility of returning to Earth, I will go.  I will go with all of my heart.

Carl Sagan said this:  “Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring- not because of exploratory or romanticized zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive…If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.”

Earth is overdue for an extinction-level event, whether the game-ender is an asteroid, global warming, a plague, or nuclear war.  It is not a question of if we need an alternative to our Earth home.  It is only a question of when we will need it.  Will we be ready when that time comes?  It is my wholehearted desire to be part of a project that answers, “Yes, we will be ready; Yes, we will survive."

I am volunteering to pave the way, to contribute to something more important than any one life, to ensure the survival of our species by participating in the colonization of Mars.  I am prepared and eager to serve the rest of my life on the Mars-One project for our children’s children, for the human race itself.  I never had children.  My genes will not carry on into the future.  Perhaps this is my way of achieving immortality.  If What I am made of does not carry on into the gene pool of future society, I can still, in this way, make a footprint so that others may, on that day when Earth is no longer an option, walk in the trail that I have helped to blaze.

Coming Home, by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

"Coming Home," acrylic by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Please send me to Mars.  I am fully aware of the risks and dangers of the mission, the isolation, and everything and everyone I would be required to leave behind.  I promise to take on this challenge with a creative and focused mind, to do so freely and full heartedly, to serve my country, my planet, my species with an unbreakable spirit.

If I should not survive the mission, or experience some peril on Mars for which there is no solution or rescue, my last thought, should I have the luxury of having one, will be what an honor it was to have given my life to this first move that we absolutely must make, if we are to preserve the human race.

In addition to my unflinching desire to assist in the colonization of a new world, I find an added bonus.  This will prevent my ex-husband from dancing on my grave.

Rebecca Lu Kiernan
February 6, 2013, Earth

See more of Rebecca Lu Kiernan's work in Offcourse.

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