Next stop: Mars

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The digital era has brought several opportunities for innovation, as the Mars One Project highlights. SA's Dr Adriana Marais, a researcher in quantum biology, is one of the Mars One Project astronaut candidates.

Mars One is a non-profit foundation and a global initiative with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. Several unmanned missions will be completed, establishing a habitable settlement, before carefully selected and trained crews will depart to Mars. The Mars One team, with its advisers and with established aerospace companies, will evaluate and mitigate risks and identify and overcome difficulties, step by step.

According to the Mars One Web site, astronaut candidates should the following characteristics: resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust and creativity/resourcefulness.

"We had to answer a number of questions in our online application, particularly regarding how we would respond to challenging situations, and also describing our character and personality," said Dr Marais.

"Out of around 200 000 people who showed interest on the Web site, 1 058 round two candidates were selected and announced in January 2014," she continued. "After a medical examination, 663 candidates remained in round two. During December and January 2015, Mars One medical officer Dr Norbert Kraft conducted online interviews, where we answered questions on material that was distributed to us with information on both Mars and the Mars One Project. The current round three Mars 100 candidates were announced on 16 February 2015."

Dr Adriana Marais, researcher in quantum biology and Mars One Project astronaut candidate.
Dr Adriana Marais, researcher in quantum biology and Mars One Project astronaut candidate.

Dr Marais will join the SAP team on its roadshow to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, as it showcases S/4HANA capabilities. She will present on the topic of living in this new era of innovation and ground-breaking S/4HANA. The free-to-attend forum is hosted by SAP in association with ITWeb Events.

"S/4HANA is for everyone. It is the fastest-growing solution we have released and sold to market since SAP's inception," said Pankaj Bhula, lead for S/4HANA, Africa at SAP Africa.

"Many years ago, when SAP was born, the mission of our company was to build software that allowed companies to automate processes... thereby increasing productivity and reducing inefficiency. This resulted in running businesses better. To date, there remain companies that continue to automate; however, the digital age has added further dynamics and other requirements," he said.

The Mars One Project candidates have one more round of assessments. "We face the final round, where the 100 remaining Mars One Project candidates from all around the world will be narrowed down to 24, who will be offered full-time positions as trainee astronauts with the project. We will be required, during this selection, to study material and perform tasks to overcome challenges in teams, as well as undergo a final isolation screening process," said Dr Marais.

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