Heidi Beemer was eight-years-old when her father showed her a newspaper article about space exploration on Mars.
She was inspired, and along with the gift of a telescope, began peering into the heavens and dreaming of amazing possibilities.
“Ever since then, through high school and college, my goal has been to go to Mars,” she said.
Beemer was recently contacted by Mars One, the Netherlands non-profit making plans to do just that in 2024.
She's one of about 1,000 applicants out of 200,000 who passed the first phase of the selection process.
Currently, Beemer is a chemical lieutenant in the army stationed at Ft. Campbell.
She completed two internships at NASA, joined the Mars Society where she completed survival training in the Utah desert and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute.
“I've already been in situations where it's life or death and I have to revert to my training to survive. Knowing I can stay calm and do the right things is kind of something that puts me ahead.”
Still, there's really no experience on Earth that could completely prepare an astronaut for travel to Mars.
The flight itself is six to eight months in very confined quarters.
The plan is for astronauts to stay there for two years to make the trip worth it, however, there's no guarantee they'll make it back.
“They want to use technology we currently have and currently we've never tested technology to bring people off the surface of Mars,” she said, adding, “This is something that will push humanity forward and make life on Earth better for the people who remain.”
For more information on Mars One, visit their Web site.