Bay Area residents sign up for one way mission to colonize Mars

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - If you could go to Mars, but you could never come back to Earth, would you go?

Several Bay Area residents are on the Mars One Foundation's short list to colonize the Red Planet.

"It's just a different way of thinking," explained 36-year-old Kenya Armbrister, one of the final 100 applicants. "What else is out there? There are so many opportunities for us to explore."

Armbrister has lived all over the world. She now lives in Oakland and hopes Mars will be her next move. "I've always been interested in space travel, seeing other worlds, seeing different planets."

The Mars One Foundation plans to start unmanned missions in 2018 to send supplies and life support systems.

Human missions would begin in 2024, sending four people at a time every two years. It's a one way ticket. "A lot of people can't even wrap their minds around it," Armbrister said. "My mom would want me to stay on Earth. She wants me to have children. She wants me to get married. Everyone else is, like, super excited."

Mars is similar to Earth in that the day lasts just over 24 hours. There are differences, too. "There's no oxygen for us to breath without us being in our space suits," Armbrister said very matter-of-factly. "It's going to be extremely cold. Probably the same type of weather that's on Antarctica."

Armbrister believes there need to be people like her who are willing to pioneer a new front. "I really, truly believe in this project," she said. "I believe for it to work there have to be people like me that's going to dedicate the rest of their life...making this a possibility for future generations to come."

The final selections are expected to be announced later this year. Armbrister said if she is one of them, "I will train for the next eight years of my life to spend the rest of my life on Mars."

Armbrister said she'll miss family and friends, the ocean, and the breeze on her face, but she's ready to go. "I'm not planning on getting married, I'm still single, I don't have kids, so this project is perfect for me."

She hopes Mars is her last move. "I will die on Mars if I'm chosen, but I will die on Earth if I'm not chosen."