Image credit: Bryan Versteeg

Here’s a challenge. Before you read any farther, write down twenty unique answers to the question, “Who am I?” It gets tough after the first few, doesn’t it? However, the Mercury astronauts had to do exactly that when they were competing for only a few slots as America’s first spacemen. They found out quickly that it isn’t easy for hotshot aviators who aren’t very used to introspection. Most of us don’t think very much about who we are as people.

Fast forward about fifty years or so. If you applied to Mars One and have made it this far, you’d better get used to thinking about exactly who you are. If you have a temper or you’re used to being the center of attention, you’d better work on that because bad tempers and drama queens won’t have much of a place on a team in which everybody is theoretically equal. If you think your ego can take it, hang a box outside your cubicle where co-workers can leave anonymous notes informing you of your annoying habits and check it once a week. That should give you an idea of which behaviors you might need to work on before you get much farther in the Mars One application process.

And who am I? Well, I’ve alternatively identified myself as a content writer and a church secretary even though I’m both. I’m an astro-geek who occasionally gripes about the sky being clouded over half the time when there’s something remotely interesting going on at night. I’ve been told that I’m a bit of a storyteller for my tendency to make a point by telling a story I read in the autobiography of one astronaut or another about how somebody got out of a similar predicament. But a lot of the time, I’ll go the other way and say something in as few words as possible because a few of the people I talk to seem to be deaf in one ear or something.

I’m one of those people who can do work in spurts, often not by choice. I can turn out the equivalent of ten or twelve 500-word articles in a day during my busy periods and then get so bored that I go out on the Internet to find extra work. Sometimes a big client who has given me steady work for six months straight will suddenly forget I exist. Times like that, my blog kinda helps me keep my writing skills sharp. Ignore the advertising if you want, but keep in mind that those product reviews are usually how a blogger earns money. Affiliate marketers like me have bills to pay, too.

It would be interesting to see who the other candidates think they are, and I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. I have wondered what would happen if us Round 2 candidates had to write down twenty answers to the “Who am I?” question, and then had to do the same thing describing one other candidate. Even when we don’t have Donald Trump’s ego, we don’t see ourselves the same way that other people see us. I know perfectly well that what I consider “normal” might seem strange to the taxi driver in England and the electrical engineer in New York City, and vice versa. So, if I seem strange sometimes, it just means that you might seem strange to me, too.

Who are we as a group? I imagine that a typical Round One candidate would have been an American male in his early thirties who has probably grown up watching space shuttle launches on TV. Now that we’ve been whittled down to just over one thousand people, it is a bit more difficult to come up with an “average” Mars One candidate. We’re literally all over the map. If we have anything in common, it’s a strong curiosity of what it’s like to be actually “out there” helping to get humanity off this planet. We’re a pretty cool bunch of people.

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