Boston-born couple Yari and R. Daniel Golden-Castaño met on a Facebook group for emerging Martians, marrying on a day when Earth's red planet was closest – and signed to the fourth planet of to colonize the sun.
"It's only part of [my] childhood dreams," said R. Daniel, 36, a reservist of the Army studying computer science.
The pair consists of two of the world's 100 semi-finalists selected for the Mars One program – a Dutch organization that aims to establish a human colony on the planet by 2032. More than 4,200 candidates had applied, and the group of 100 was eventually reduced to 24 apprentices. They are undergoing a decade of intensive training: they are being housed in a remote location where they learn how to grow food, repair technology and provide medical education. Nobody will get a return ticket.
The Golden Castaños are among five potential future Martians, whose profile is featured in "I'm Moving to Mars," a four-part documentary that celebrates premiere on Thursday .com.
"The idea [for the candidates] is that there is a bigger goal," said director Julia Ngeow. "It's bigger than the individual – it's part of a bigger thing for humanity."
"It's an empty social slate, and they can shape their best lives," she added. "I asked her what that looks like and nobody knows."
There's one thing you know: as the lyrics of Elton John's "Rocket Man" say, "Mars is not the kind of place you can rise to." Child. "The mission is not to populate. It's simply about lighting the pilot light on Mars – including finding water and creating sustainable food sources.
"None of us wants to have children," said R. Daniel, who has two children from a previous marriage.
For the mission many details have to be ironed out, which are financed by enterprise promotion and broadcasting rights. Supplies are shipped before people arrive. In 2031, a Mars One spaceship will bring four people to the planet for a preliminary 18-month voyage and stay in small pods as they try to acclimate with gravity and other elements.
The red planet is red-hot right now. The technology entrepreneur Elon Musk aims to build a manned base as early as 2025. In November, NASA landed there a study. Russia has announced that it will start manned and unmanned trips to Mars.
But colonization is hardly a blast. Bill Nye told USA Today last month, "It does not make sense because it's so cold. And there is hardly any water. There is absolutely no food, and the big thing, I remind the boys that there is nothing to breathe.
The mundane aspirations of the Mars One trainees were hard to accept for their families.
"This commitment to the hypothetical adventure is having a real impact now," said Ngeow.
After Yaris grandmother in Mexico had expressed concern that this was a "suicide mission", the 30-year-old engineer tried to convince her otherwise.
"I brought slides and explained them to her," Yari said. "Now she says," God will set you on the path you need to be. "She tells people," My granddaughter is going to Mars!
It was not so easy for the aspiring colonist Peter Degen. Portnoy, a five-year-old Boston son (his youngest is 11 years old), who reveals in the documentary that his desire to live on the Red Planet has led to the end of his marriage.
"Our responsibility as a species is to help Our species continues to grow to grow to ensure its continuity," he says in the series. "What I can do as a parent, as an individual, [is] I can help my children become the best possible adults they can be. Then I will be her father who lives and works on Mars. "
As planned, Degen-Portnoy will be 70 years old when he leaves Earth.
The Golden Castaños are already preparing for a reduced alien future from living in a tight camper.
"For me it's about exploring … and giving back the information [to earth]," Yari said about her decision to give up earthly life. She sees herself as a pioneer: "Everything we experience there will be the first time."