Shepherd students talk of traveling to Mars

(THE PICKET)—For the first time ever, scientists have confirmed evidence of water on the surface of present day Mars.

This finding has led to many speculations from NASA scientists as to whether there could be potential life beyond earth.

NASA’s associate administrator for science, John M. Grunsfeld, told the New York Times in an article published on Sept. 28 that there has been discussion of sending a spacecraft to the planet in the 2020s to investigate whether life exists there.

Several Shepherd University students were randomly selected and asked the question if they would travel to Mars if they had the chance.

Of the students interviewed, four said they would go to Mars and three said they would not.

“I think living on Mars would be pretty interesting,” Ian McCauley a 22-year-old political science major said. “I mean obviously it would have to be made livable but it would be great. Having a new planet, you could be the first person to do a lot of things.”

Dan Karske, a 21-year-old English education major, agreed with McCauley that going to space would be interesting.

“I would be interested in going if there was a guarantee that I could come back,” Karske said. “I’ve always liked the idea of going into space. I think it would be cool to go, but I’d want to make it back.”

Amanda Sampson, a 21-year-old senior English education major, said that she would go to space if she was alone.

“There wouldn’t be enough room for everyone since Mars is smaller, so the less people that would go, the better,” Sampson said.

For students like 21-year-old Kevin Cantarilho, a criminal justice major, traveling to Mars is not on his bucket list.

“It’s too much sand and not enough beach. (Upon being told that there is, in fact, water on Mars,) I’m talking about Copacabana, actual legitimate beach,” Cantarilho said.

Hayleigh McAllister, a 20-year-old English major with a creative writing concentration, said she would only make the trip to Mars if she didn’t have a choice.

“I’d really rather not,” McAllister said. “The idea of space travel freaks me out.”

Julia Athey, a 20-year-old English literature and business double major, said that, like McAllister, space is scary.

“I hate space. It freaks me out, and I could never even go to the moon, let alone live on Mars.”

Shepherd student, Chuck Gaines, said he wouldn’t want to travel to Mars because he wouldn’t want to be away from his mom but he would travel to the moon given the opportunity.

“I would have to decline the offer if it was presented to me,” Gaines said. “You know I appreciate the offer and all but I couldn’t leave my Momma. I would miss everybody back on Earth too much as well, but give me a chance to go to the moon and I’m all for it, as long as I’m not gone too long.”

Quote contributions from Mike Morris, Katie Gayman, Keegan Brewster and Da’Shawn Long.

Hayley Butler is a staff writer for The Picket. She can be reached at or followed on Twitter @haybutler

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