UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - Tim Gowan is a man of many talents. The University City resident is an aerospace engineer for Boeing, an actor and filmmaker, and a computer technician. He hopes those skills and interests will earn him a trip to Mars.
Gowan survived the first round of astronaut cuts for Mars One, the privately funded mission to colonize Mars by 2025. More than 200,000 people applied to live on Mars, and Gowan recently learned he's among the 1,058 would-be astronauts still in the running. So is Bridgeton resident Maggie Duckworth.
"It's about being something greater than yourself," Gowan said. "Being a spokesperson for humanity, so it's not something to be taken lightly.
I applied because I thought I fit the bill of someone that could make it."
It's not a run-of-the-mill conversation when your son says he's determined to go to Mars. And if it happens, it's a one-way ticket.
"I told my mom and dad and immediately they were like 'no!', Gowan said, "but they're excited and they're going to support me with whatever I do."
Financing will be a major challenge for the mission. Mars One estimates the cost of putting the first four people on Mars will be $6 billion dollars, and another $4 billion dollars for each trip that follows. Selling the rights to a reality show could raise part of the money. Mars One is also crowd-funded. Skeptics abound for the Mars One mission, including the head of NASA, who recently said he doubts enough money can be raised.
"It's the same arguments people made about getting to the moon, getting across the seas to colonize the West Indies," Gowan said. "It's just the next step and it's going to happen sometime, so let's take a shot at it."
The fact that Mars One would likely be a one way ticket to the red planet doesn't phase Gowan.
"Thirty years, 50 years down the road, they could easily have the technology then," he said.
Next for Gowan and Duckworth is a medical exam and an interview with the Mars One committee. The candidates will be expected to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions, and work together under difficult circumstances. Candidate groups will receive their first short-term training in a copy of the Mars outpost. Eventually, six groups of four will become full-time employees of the Mars One astronaut corps, then they'll train for the mission.
Even though his girlfriend describes Mars as a dealbreaker for their relationship, a possible star trek gets Gowan going.
"Wow, this is amazing. People are actually attempting to go to Mars," said Gowan. "I think I can do a great job and I'd love to represent St. Louis."