Di’s next adventure
Southbank resident Dianne McGrath was born on July 19, 1969 – the day before Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.
Perhaps space travel was always destined to intrigue her.
Not settling for the moon, Dianne has set her sights on Mars. She entered a worldwide search for the first humans to establish a colony on, in planetary terms, our closest neighbour.
The project, known as Mars One, offered a one-way ticket to the red planet and was inundated with over 200,000 applicants worldwide. Dianne is one of 28 Australian’s who made the first cut of 705 applicants.
Dianne said, at this stage, all her family and friends and even her partner have been very supportive.
“Most of them just reacted by saying: ‘oh is that what you’re doing now!’ There were a few laughs, a few: ‘good on you Di’s!’,” Dianne said.
“However, a few questioned it when they found out it was a one way ticket!”
Dianna is a self-described adventurer, having competed in ultra marathons, climbed mountains and been skydiving. She described the Mars One opportunity as the “ultimate adventure”.
The expedition will eventually choose 24 candidates, who will train in teams of four until the launch in 2023. At that point, one of the teams of four will be chosen. After the initial four are settled in, Mars One will send more astronauts every two years to the base.
Is Dianne concerned about getting along with her team of four?
“I’m assuming as the process moves through they’ll be looking for a team of people who fit well together, both in skills and personality.”
“The team is like a jigsaw puzzle. If one person is unwell or leaves for any reason you can’t just replace one person, the whole team needs to be replaced.”
Dianne is hopeful her current study, a PhD in sustainable food, will provide a great reason to choose her as a candidate for the trip.
“What happens at a place like Mars when you can’t just go down to the corner store, obviously, is that you need sustainable food and you need it from the get go. Food production is critical.”
Dianne said the team of four will be two men and two women and all will be from different areas of earth.
“One thing I’m fascinated by is how this group will set up a new society. It will obviously be equally run from the start with the first four, but as more people arrive, how will the governance evolve?”
“I hope it works. It’d be great to show people that we can live sustainably and in harmony.”
Southbank Local News thought the most obvious question of all was quite simply: Does living in Southbank make it harder to leave earth?
“Of course it does!” Dianne exclaimed with a smile.