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Fort Campbell soldier makes 1st round cut for trip to Mars

A Hampton Roads, Va., native has made the short list for a long flight – a one-way trip to Mars.

Heidi Beemer, a 2007 graduate of Ocean Lakes High School Math and Science Academy, now an Army chemical officer stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., was notified Monday that she is one of 1,058 applicants to move to the second round of selections for the first four human colonists on the Red Planet.

About 200,000 applications were received by Mars One, a nonprofit organization hoping to establish the colony in 2025.

“I got goose bumps when she called to tell me,” said her father, Dave Beemer.

Heidi was traveling home after a weekend snowboarding trip when she got the email from Mars One. "I'm just ecstatic," she said.

Beemer decided at the age of 12 that she wanted to go to Mars, and she prepared by studying all kinds of science, doing a high school project at NASA Langley Research Center, and interning at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

Now that she’s made the first cut, what’s next?

Fundraising.

The email she received from Mars One says: “Helping generate interest and funding in the Mars One mission is your first assignment. Among other criteria, finalists for the mission will be judged on their ability to be evangelists for this project.”

Mars One is crowdsourcing the mission concept studies for an unmanned mission in 2018, seeking $400,000. With 27 days left in its campaign, $103,230 has been raised at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mars-one-first-private-mars-mission-in-2018.

Mars One is also negotiating with media companies for rights to televise the selection process and until that’s done, even the applicants don’t know what to expect.

“We should know more in the next week or two,” Heidi said. “I’m just excited that the project is moving forward and I can be a part of it.”

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