Cape Coral teen could be one of Mars' first residents

CREATED Jan. 18, 2014

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral teen has her sights set on Mars.

19-year-old Holly Abernethy is one of just 1,058 people from around the world competing to be one of the first humans to colonize Mars.

"This is my dream. Everyone has their own dream and this is my dream. To live it out would be amazing," Abernethy said.

It's all part of a non-profit organization called Mars One, which plans to send between 20-40 people to the Red Planet starting in 2025.

More than 200,000 people originally applied for a spot. In her application video, Abernethy said she has always secretly wanted to go to Mars and that she wants "to change the world and [is] willing to risk everything to do it."

Abernethy graduated from Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers and is now a sophomore at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona. She is studying human factors, or how humans interact with machines.

Abernethy's dad, Kerry, says he thought his daughter was crazy when she told him she had applied to Mars One.

But after some research, Kerry Abernethy decided to support his daughter, even if it means he will never see her again. Mars One is a one-way trip.

"Forever," Kerry Abernethy said. "It's going to be very emotional, however if this is something she wants to go through, dedicate her life to it, we are supportive 100 percent."

With her family's support, Holly Abernethy says she is ready to move forward in the selection process.

"I would like to think knowing about this makes all the problems on Earth seem trivial. I wake up each morning and live differently and have a different mindset since this program," Abernethy said.

For the next round, Holly Abernethy will have an interview in front of a selection committee.

For more information on Mars One, log onto www.mars-one.com/