I became a promising classical violinist by the age of 10. Two years later I joined the orchestra, and then I became leader of the orchestra. Glamorous, neat, classy, we toured everywhere playing classical music in opera houses. I loved it, but with every concert my "little dream" of becoming an astronaut was fading away without me even realizing.
We all know about this go-to-Mars-and-never-come-back-thing, right? If not, type "Mars One" on any electronic device and check it out. I'm totally sure that the idea of a one-way trip to the Red Planet significantly contributed to the media success of this project. Nevertheless, every single time I answer questions from the public, fans and reporters, I get stuck on this point: the "no-return policy."
I find myself living at a very particular point in the almost 4 billion years of the evolution of life on this planet. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be alive right now, when for the very first time, we are able to investigate terrestrial life on scales smaller than the size of atoms, as well as look to the skies for evidence of extra-terrestrial life many hundreds of light years beyond Earth.