When Megan Kane was a sophomore in high school, her geography class watched a documentary on NASA’s planned 2020 mission to Mars. She decided that day that she wanted to go, and today she's one of the so-called “Mars 100” chosen for a one-way trip to the red planet — but stuck in limbo.
NASA's proposed 2020 mission isn't happening after all. But Kane is holding out hope for Mars One, a private endeavor by Dutch engineer and business whiz Bas Lansdorp. In 2012, Lansdorp announced the multibillion-dollar mission to send humans on a one-way trip to Mars. He planned to fund it as a reality show, in space. More than 200,000 people applied, and Kane was one of the 100 chosen. But Mars One went bankrupt this year, and Kane and the other remaining candidates are on hold while Mars One scrambles to find a new investor.
Kane equates the exploration of another planet to the faith and risk taken by explorers discovering America. “I realized that this was a frontier. This was someplace we could actually go, that I could go and explore and contribute to the future of the human race,” she said. “Every major decision in my life, since I was inspired and decided that I was going to Mars when I was 16, has been based on that [high school documentary].”
Despite the odds, Kane and her fellow would-be Martians are as invested and determined as ever.
“Every time I falter, thinking 'Can I do it?,' I go, of course I can,’ “ says Kane. “I can do it. I just have to be dedicated. I have to follow through. So, it's Mars or bust.”
This segment originally aired March 29, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.