Waterloo grad shortlisted for one-way trip to Mars

Monday, February 16, 2015

A former University of Waterloo student is among seven Canadians shortlisted for the Mars One mission attempting to set up a human colony on Mars.

Photo of Ben Criger

Ben Criger

Ben Criger is one of 100 men and women selected today to move to the third round of training for the one-way trip to Mars. Mars One aims to create a colony on Mars by sending four men and women in the first mission and following with four people every two years

“I think everybody should want to go,” says Criger, “To me, Mars exploration is the default, and not doing it is exceptional.”

An alumnus from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, Criger has a PhD in physics from Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. He was selected from a pool of 660 candidates who participated in personal online interviews with Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer of Mars One. Criger participated in his interview from Germany where he is currently doing a post-doctoral fellowship at RWTH Aachen University.

“I’m extremely proud of Ben,” said Raymond Laflamme, executive director of the Institute for Quantum Computing. “He’s a talented scientist and will be a great addition to the Mars One mission. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and all of us here in Waterloo will be watching and cheering him forward.”

The Mars 100 will now have the opportunity to experience what life will be like on Mars by training in a copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth. “Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges.” said Dr. Norbert Kraft in the Mars One press release.

"I hope this is going to give me the opportunity to learn little bits of different scientific and engineering disciplines,” says Criger, “which was one of the things I liked most about Waterloo."

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. A globally focused institution, celebrated as Canada’s most innovative university for 23 consecutive years, Waterloo is home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit uwaterloo.ca.


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Nick Manning
University of Waterloo