Meet the New Zealander Who Wants to Colonise Mars

Wellington-based scientist Hari Mogosanu is unperturbed by crude pop-culture imaginings of Mars, like the 1990 sci-fi classic Total Recall, writes Danielle Street for Vice.

Three years ago, the she formed the New Zealand chapter of the Mars Society to support the international organisation in its bid to create a human colony on Earth’s celestial neighbour.

“Mars Society New Zealand wants to do science. I didn’t create this to be a enthusiasts club like the medieval club or whatever, my dream is to be a science hub. That’s what I want to do.” says Mogosanu.

Mogosanu’s ties with the organisation have sent her repeatedly to the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah, where a group of society members cram into a capsule for two weeks.

“Utah is the only place on Earth that just looks like Mars.” Mogosanu explains. “I went there in winter, and I have never ever in my life seen anything like it, the hues are all ochre and brown and it just looks like Mars, very alien.”

In the middle of the desert, the Mars Desert Research Station placed a metal cylinder that looked like a spaceship, replicating the idea of sending people to Mars in a space capsule.

“You launch it, you travel aboard it, but also when you get there you can live in it, so that you don’t have to build your shelter from scratch.

You can’t really live on Mars in open space, you have to be protected from radiation, or from ginormous dust storms that blow across the entire planet.”

Mogosanu stayed in the capsule for two weeks, putting on a space suit and ventilator every time she went outside, surviving on dehydrated food.

“The thing that I missed the most and I would have given anything, anything, to have was greens, like a salad or an apple. That made me realise how awesome fresh food is, and how much we take it for granted.”

She has never been to space and feels as though at 40 she is now too old, however she does believe all humans will one day venture into space.

“I think Mars is the next step for humankind to go to space, and when we become a space-faring civilisation we will have to do stuff to exist in Mars.”

Full interview and original story published on Vice, 2 July.


Tags: Danielle Street  Earth  Hari Mogosanu  Mars  Mars Desert Research Station  Mars Society  Total Recall  Vice