Populating planet Mars

COULD you watch your partner leave on a one-way ticket to Mars and be OK with it?

Could you support them knowing you’ll never see them again?

That’s exactly the dilemma facing Jason Stanford, whose wife Sonia Van Meter, 36, has been short-listed for the audacious Mars One mission, which aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. Out of 200,000 would-be “Marstronauts”, she’s down to the final 100.

Incredibly, Mr Stanford, who is raising two sons with Ms Van Meter, is cool with it. He says his wife’s dream to help colonise Mars is bigger than him, bigger than their family and their future.

He’s resigned to the idea of letting her go, believing his family’s loss is humanity’s gain.

“The simple truth is that if he doesn’t want me to go, I won’t even consider it,” Ms Van Meter tells news.com.au from her home in Virginia, in the US.

“Just one word from him and I’d withdraw from the program without hesitation.”

But Mr Stanford says he would never stop her.

“What could be my personal horror story would become the world’s grandest adventure,” he wrote in a heartfelt essay, published in the Texas Monthly last week.

“Am I prepared to actually say goodbye? Am I prepared for the moment when I will be left standing on Earth with my face pointing up at a rapidly disappearing rocket carrying my partner away from me on a one-way trip to Mars?”

The answer is yes.

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