Long Island Man On Waiting List Also Hopes To Be Finalist

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One hundred people are now one step closer to being the first humans on Mars.

More than 200,000 people applied to be part of a Dutch foundation’s planned mission to Mars and that list has been narrowed down to 50 men and 50 women from all over the world.

“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”

LINK: Meet The Mars 100

Cassandra Morphy, 32, of Keasbey, New Jersey is one of the 100 people in the running for a one-way ticket to Mars, 1010 WINS reported.

“Why do I want to go to Mars? Because it’s there. There are people who fear the unknown and people who embrace it. I’m definitely one of the latter. Going to space has been one of my lifelong goals since before I can remember. Going to Mars has been one since I first heard the idea of colonizing,” Morphy said in a video posted on the Mars One website.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Robert Buccheri, a 50-year-old West Hempstead tradesman, athlete and science buff, is also hoping to make the mission. He did not make the Mars 100 list, but Mars One told McLogan by phone that standbys could be added from 1,000 of the 200,000 initial applicants.

Buccheri hopes to be one of them.

“I spend a lot of time in the yard looking up at the moon, and then at Mars — I am obsessed with Mars!” Buccheri said. “My nickname — Bobby Mars. Everybody calls me Bobby Mars.”

Buccheri was on the list when 200,000 applicants were reduced earlier to a total of 1,057.

“Ever since Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the moon, I’ve been hooked,” Buccheri said.

The one-way trip to colonize Mars is beyond dangerous, but Buccheri said he is willing to risk cosmic radiation, solar flares, and meteor strikes just to get there.

When asked how he had the bravery and gumption to be willing to leave the earth and never come back, Buccheri said it was “not even a question in my mind.”

“As soon as I saw it, I was like, this is for me. It fit me like a glass slipper,” Buccheri said.

Buccheri, a union electrician, thinks his skills would be perfect for the historic trip. He is a bachelor with no children, and also a knowledgeable cosmologist and astronomer.

“If they could lock me in a can for 10 years, I’d start training tomorrow – there’s no doubt I would do this,” he said. “To me, it’s such an important step for mankind.”

Buccheri said he loves life on earth, and he is devoted to his West Hempstead-Franklin Square community. He said he doesn’t know if he could live without the pizza and bagels, but he is willing to forgo it all.

“I wouldn’t leave Long Island for anything less,” he said. “Imagine what we’ll learn, and imagine what we’ll accomplish stepping off the planet.”

When the final four participants are selected, they will take off in a spaceship and will not arrive on Mars for seven months. But Buccheri said it would be worth it even if they don’t like each other.

“If you get sick of talking to somebody, get sick of looking at them, you’ve just got to hang in there for two years and there will be four more,” he said.

Buccheri has started a Facebook group – the Mars One Club – inviting the public to join the outer space discussion.

Eventually, six crews made up of four people each will be selected to travel to the red planet in 2025.