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Rejected As A Mars One Astronaut Candidate, She's Turning To Plan B (Or M)


Last year, we introduced you to Heidi Beemer, a young woman determined to one day leave this planet and go to Mars.


HEIDI BEEMER: The thought of being afraid or having the fear of the fact that I'm going to die on a different planet, it doesn't really bother me because this is something that will help out humanity for years and years and years to come.

RATH: She's one of thousands who applied to be an astronaut for Mars One, a nonprofit organization that's aiming to get humans settled on Mars by 2025. When we talked with her in December, she just had an interview for round two of the selection process. Last week, Heidi Beemer got the results and we checked back in.

BEEMER: They made the announcement that they went from 600 candidates down to 100 and I was not among those selected to move on to the next round.

RATH: What's your feeling after hearing that?

BEEMER: I'm definitely disappointed. I was so excited to be a part of the process and to have gotten as far as I did. I think the way forward for them is going really well. Funding's picking up. They're doing a lot of the right things kind of to get in the right direction. So now it's just a matter of finding the right candidates out of the pool that they selected and then continuing to receive candidates that are applying every year for that. Because they're going to open up applications again in early 2016.

RATH: Heidi, having spoken with you a couple of times now, I'm pretty sure that not getting selected for Mars One is not affecting your enthusiasm for getting to Mars.

BEEMER: No, definitely not. I'm just as excited as ever. Mars One was just the first opportunity that came down. So for me, my next - look, I'm still in the military, still in the Army. I'm looking to submit my packet here shortly to get promoted to captain. And then from there, a couple different opportunities open up in the Army, one being I'm going to apply for space command, which is the Army working with the Air Force for missile defense and kind of all their space operations.

So for me, that's kind of the logical step of getting me into that space community so that I can open up the doors to one day apply for NASA through their astronaut program. I think we're going to get to Mars whether it's through Mars One or whether it's through NASA or some other organization. We're going to get there, and so I want to make sure that no matter what avenue that is, I'm ready. So I'm learning from this. I know now, if I do want to apply for the next rounds of candidates, exactly what I need to do. And I'll be ready for when that opportunity comes.

RATH: And you're only 25, Heidi, so you've got a lot of opportunities and time left to explore all of these things.

BEEMER: Oh, definitely. I mean, there's so many opportunities that I'm not even aware of. I've kind of always had a philosophy that the best opportunities are the ones that you don't know what's in front of you. And I accepted the challenge two years ago when I applied for Mars One, and it's opened up tremendous opportunities for me. And although this was not the path I was meant to take, I know that other opportunities will open up because of this. And I'm really excited to be part of this process moving forward.

RATH: Heidi Beemer is a Mars enthusiast and she's also in the Army. She's a chemical defense officer with Fort Campbell 63rd Chemical Company in Kentucky. Heidi Beemer, great talking with you again.

BEEMER: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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