Category Archives: Life

10 Middle Easterners muscling for a seat on the mission to Mars!

Nearly a quarter million people (202,586 to be precise) have applied for a one-way ticket to Mars, with candidates from the Middle East making serious headway in the race to become a modern-day Martian!

The flight won’t launch for another 11 years, but competition for those four first seats is fierce. (You have far better odds of being hit with lightning — estimated as a chance of one in 3,000 over your lifetime!)

Mars One is the inspired (or insane?) global initiative to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. An unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020, with the first human crew starting its one-way journey in 2026. Subsequent crews will depart every 26 months, each with new research and development tasks. That’s a lot of people to pick, and the screening process is arduous.

The third selection round has concluded, narrowing the field to 100 hopefuls. “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff,” said Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One.

What further challenges will these candidates face? Remaining selection rounds will focus on creating teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent Mars settlement — emphasis on “permanent.” They’ll be subjected to a battery of psychological and physical testing and trained in an earth-bound replica of the Mars Outpost.

Candidates who were not selected to continue will have a chance to reapply this year in a new application round. Meet ten would-be space pioneers from the Middle East!


A toy bear, left by a friend who moved away, sits with Israeli Elad Eisen in his video. “I couldn’t let that poor teddy wander Tel Aviv. I promised I would never leave it alone. This is why he’ll go to Mars, we’re doing it together.” He’s hopeful that by the time the mission happens, technology will have evolved so they can return to Earth.


Sadeqh Modarresi is an irrepressibly upbeat biologist! The 30-year-old Iranian says,”I think people have to pursue their interests and never give up. I am so optimistic and excited about this mission! Mankind is showing strong will in achieving superior goals as a superior species.” He also plays a mean table tennis.


  Iraqi Najeeb Waleed is a computer engineer and software developer currently pursuing a PhD degree. When not at school, the 38-year-old likes to learn more about himself, the world and humanity in general. And, of course, space.


Saeed Qandehari is a physicist with two master’s degrees in politics. The 34-year-old Iranian lives in New Zealand and describes himself as a specialist in international affairs and human rights. He’s a talented handyman, can farm and hunt, and is skilled at “hijama” — the Persian traditional medicine of blood-letting!


Israeli Jonathan Vasquez is motivated by his own desire to advance mankind, “so that the next generation will not experience the same pain and hardships.” The one-way ticket doesn’t scare him: “It inspires me to know that my fellow astronauts would be as dedicated as I am,” he says.


  Iraqi Dina Masodi is a computer scientist now living in America. When she left her family in Iraq, she knew it was forever. She feels it would be the same experience as going to Mars. Asked if she thinks a person has to be crazy to agree to go to Mars, she replied, “It’s only as crazy as getting married, having kids and dying.”


Israeli Nadav Neuman sees Earth racing to extinction. “Unless we find a new place to settle — we can say bye to the human race,” he told Ynetnews. And like the others, he’s unfazed by the idea of leaving. “I have loved ones here, but as the possibilities of space travel improves, we could see each other whenever we want,” he said.


 “I would be crazy not to be afraid, but I think that all decisions worth making are scary,” Israeli Yair Maimon said. He thinks that making a conscious decision to leave everything you love behind is the most intimidating decision a person could make, but one that’s necessary in order to answer, “What next?”


  Elaheh Nouri is a 22-year-old Iranian architecture student who says she “fell in love” with cosmology at age 16. She views Mars One as her opportunity to find her important purpose in life, a dream for herself that will be useful for all mankind. Her hobbies include learning about astronomy, jumping from heights, and playing the harmonica.


32-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Sallam was an IT trainee for six months, a sports marketer for six years, and is now a financial planner. “I’ve been trying to find what I really want to do with my life, but as you can see it just did not add up,” he said in his bio. As a kid, he dreamed of being an astronaut, so why not go back to that?


And now for something completely different

Since I never ask for donations yet put thousands of hours into this blog I respectfully ask all to maybe help out a fellow contributor to this page as well as several pages on facebook and twitter. He is dedicated to the hilt, just lately took a wallop by hard times.. even 45. is a godsend.. Thanks, IranAware


Sara’s eye surgery fund

My name is Sara and Im 3 years old. I got beat up by another cat and had my eye scratched and it quickly became infected. I had 1 emergency surgery to save my sight but Im going to be blind. I had to have stitches on my third eyelid to try to save my eyeball but halfway through the recovery I tore them out and had to be rushed back in for a 2nd surgery. I can use some karma and lots of love, and a little help paying my vet bill cause we had no money due to winter but the vet did the 2 surguries anywany and I want to pay him back for helping us with both surgeries, Praying I get to keep the eye itself and dont have to have it removed in a 3rd surgury in 2 weeks.
as off now we get to keep the eyeball, with  a final bill of just under 800.

I personally would never ask for anything for myself, but Im laid off for the winter ans my unemployment covers the whole family, and cant afford all these new bills all of a sudden. I’m a animal lover and need other animal lovers to help Sara.. Please and thank you..

Pow! Zap! Marvel Comics to present teenage, female Muslim superhero


A new Marvel Comics cover shows Ms Marvel as Kamala Khan (2nd L), the 16-year-old daughter of Pakistani immigrants, in this undated handout provided by Marvel Comics. (Reuters)

Move over Black Widow and step aside She-Hulk: Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero – a 16-year-old Muslim-American girl named Kamala Khan, to reflect the growing diversity of its readers.

The character, who will be the new Ms. Marvel, lives with her conservative Pakistani parents and brother in New Jersey. She will make her debut in January and appear in a monthly series starting on February 6.

“It is so important that we tell stories that reflect the ever-changing world that we live in and being a Muslim-American is so much a part of that,” said Sana Amanat, the series editor, who also worked on Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men comic books.

Although the inspiration for the new series came from a desire to explore the Muslim-American experience, she said it isn’t about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American.

“It is about a young girl who is figuring out who she is and what happens when these really extraordinary things happen to her,” she added in an interview.

Khan is a big comic book fan and after she discovers her superhuman power – being a polymorph and able to lengthen her arms and legs and change her shape – she takes on the name of Ms. Marvel. The title had previously belonged to Carol Danvers, a character Khan had always had admired.

“It pays homage to the legacy character,” said Amanat.

Positive response

The idea for the new superhero stemmed from a casual conversation Amanat had with her senior editor, Steve Wacker, about her own experiences growing up as a Muslim-American.

“He was interested in the dilemma I faced as a young girl and the next day he came in and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a superhero that was for all the little girls that grew up just like you, and who are growing up just like you are today, and to create a character they can be inspired by,’” Amanat said.

Writer G. Willow Wilson, a convert to Islam, and artist Adrian Alphona are the team working on the project, which started about 18 months ago.

Wilson said she wrote the character as a true-to-life person so that people, particularly young women, can relate to her.

Khan experiences the usual teenage angst, feelings of confusion and being an outsider, dealing with the expectations of her parents and problems at high school.

“It’s for all the geek girls out there, and everybody else who’s ever looked at life on the fringe,” Wilson said in a statement.

Kahn is not the first Muslim-American character in the superhero world, which has been largely dominated by white males, but Amanat said she is being pushed to the forefront of the Marvel universe.

“People have been mostly positive about it,” she said, adding that the real test will come early next year when the series begins.

Amanat believes the options for the new character, and others like her, are limitless.

“We are always trying to upend expectations to an extent but our point is to always reflect the world outside our window, and we are looking through a lot more windows right now,” she said.

%d bloggers like this: