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India’s Vinod Kotiya makes the top 1,058 for Mars One mission

Mars-hopeful from India Vinod Kotiya will have to leave his daughter Jeannie and wife Priyanka behind in case he is among the lucky four chosen from among the 200,000 applicants. Kotiya’s selection email has asked him to start publicising the mission using social media to scale up the crowd funding. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint Premium
Mars-hopeful from India Vinod Kotiya will have to leave his daughter Jeannie and wife Priyanka behind in case he is among the lucky four chosen from among the 200,000 applicants. Kotiya’s selection email has asked him to start publicising the mission using social media to scale up the crowd funding. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Kotiya has also passed the medical checks for round two and is now awaiting an interview call before 14 April

Delhi: Electrical engineer Vinod Kotiya, a father of one from rural Chhattisgarh, has made it through to the second round of the Mars One mission vetting process. Profiled by Mint in September 2013, Kotiya, who applied as one of 200,000 people (of which 20,800 applicants were Indians) for a one-way ticket to Mars, has also passed the medical checks for round two and is now awaiting an interview call before 14 April.

Being one of the 1,058 remaining applicants or in the “top 0.5% of wannabe martians," as he puts it, is a significant step towards Kotiya’s dream of being part of the first four-member crew to touch down on Mars in 2025.

In December, Mars One, which wants to raise the initial $6 billion it needs through crowd funding and a reality TV show, announced that it would delay its launch dates by two years from the 2023 date originally planned. At the same time, it announced agreements with Lockheed Martin Corp. and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to perform its “mission concept study" for the feasibility of its first mission—an unmanned one for a communications satellite and a supply mission dropping building materials—in 2018.

While in recent months, a number of sceptics have spoken critically about the feasibility of Mars One (some have also called a one-way mission unethical), Kotiya is delighted to have made it past the first hurdle. “It’s nice to reach to round two," he said, “At least Jeannie (his two-year-old daughter) will be happy someday for this." Kotiya’s selection email has asked him to start publicising the mission using social media to scale up the crowd funding.

“If you haven’t already, it’s time to talk with your loved ones regarding your dream of starting a human civilization on Mars," the email said. “Passing the first round of selection is a major step closer to going down in history as one of the chosen few who will experience and live something that has never been done before."

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