Temple Terrace man could soon call Mars home

You may read about Hampton Black in a science text book one day as a space pioneer.

"As a human species, we can do this. I want to be a part of that," he explained.

This 44-year-old mechanical engineer from Temple Terrace is talking about living on and colonizing Mars.


"Venturing out in the solar system to Mars and settling on that planet ensures our survival as a species," said Black.

He has been chosen to move forward with the Mars One project, a not-for-profit foundation with the plan of establishing permanent life on that planet.

He's among 100 candidates now. That number will be whittled down before the proposed mission in 2026.

"Day in, day out -- you breathe this stuff. Mars is not going to be a picnic. Mars will throw everything at you to kill you," Black added.

Should he make it 140 million miles away, he will never return home to Earth; it's a one-way trip.

"Personally I love going to the beach, I'm going to miss the sound of the waves hitting the shore the sand in your toes. Those things are going to be hard," he said.

Not to mention leaving his family behind.

"I'm still a human being.  I have selfish human emotions.  Of course I want him to stay with me but I want to see him go also -- I'm torn in between," said his fiancée, Ann Marie Slavik.

The future Mars colonizers would have to grow their own food and make their own repairs. Black says he isn't nervous; he's ready.

"It is a job and it takes the right kind of person to have the mindset for that."