The husband of a woman set to travel on a one-way trip to Mars is speaking out about saying goodbye to her forever and how he believes the mission itself is “bigger” than anything else.
Jason Stanford of Alexandria, Virginia, wrote in Texas Monthly about how his 36-year-old wife Sonia Van Meter is one of 100 people selected for Mars One, a project that will bring life to Mars in 2026. Reports say four people will initially inhabit Mars, followed by another four people two years later, and so on.
Stanford says that as an “astronaut wife,” he realizes that he and his children will never see the devoted wife and stepmother again once she leaves for Mars.
“This was bigger than me,” Stanford wrote. “It raises existential questions far weightier than how much I’d miss Sonia and whether I remembered who our plumber was or knew where she kept all the passwords.”
“If it succeeds in its mission — establishing a sustainable colony on another planet — it would change the history of humanity by expanding our boundaries beyond this planet,” Stanford continued.
Since the privately funded Mars One Project announced who the participants will be, Van Meter has garnered a lot of attention. While some have been supportive, many have reportedly attacked her for accepting the mission. Despite negativity, Stanford says that criticism is “incendiary.”
“She’s been asked how she could abandon me more times than most people have been asked if they want fries with that,” Stanford wrote.
Stanford goes on to say that at first, he had a hard time dealing with the thought of his wife going to Mars, and when he found out that she’d be exposed to massive amounts of radiation on Mars that could cause serious disease, it was even harder. Now, he knows how important her mission is.
“Imagine that you know you will be watching your spouse evolve on another planet before she dies of cancer inside of a decade,” Stanford wrote. “Imagine that everyone on Earth is watching with you. Now imagine that this idea no longer seems strange.”
“So it’s time to accept my role,” Stanford continued. “Her name is Sonia Van Martian, and I’m the astronaut wife. We’re just an ordinary married couple in an extraordinary situation, and we’re taking it one small step for man at a time.”