A local man won’t be one of the first colonists on Mars. Grady Bolding, 27, of Great Bend, was one of more than 200,000 people who applied to become an astronaut with Mars One, a Netherlands-based company that intends to begin sending people to Mars by 2024. All of those applicants knew it would be a one-way trip.
Last year, after undergoing a physical examination and an interview, Bolding was one of 705 finalists. In February, Mars One announced its top 100 finalists. Bolding said he was disappointed that his name was not included on the “Mars 100.”
“I got the email from M-1 a few Fridays before the big public announcement,” Bolding said. “It sucked, but it didn’t drive me to my knees.”
His mother and two friends in particular were not enthusiastic about his participation from the get-go, Bolding said.
“When it was all settled, it wasn’t so bad getting the news,” he said. “I made it as far as I did without quitting — that’s the big thing. ‘Go to Mars or get thrown out trying.’ Those were the two options since I sent in the application video. Being the 101st isn’t so bad.”
Bolding said his attempt to become a Martian was a positive one overall.
“The Mars One Project helped boost my spirits and outlook on life.”
He continues to work part-time as a greeter at the Great Bend - Brit Spaugh Zoo. Other than that, Bolding doesn’t know what the future holds. “I’m still alive and staying on Earth, for better or worse."